Vanuatu Displacement Tracking Report - Tropical Cyclone Harold, June 2020

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Executive Summary

This report presents the key findings from the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) assessment carried out between 26 May and 6 June 2020 in response to Tropical Cyclone Harold (T.C. Harold).

As of 6 June 2020, the research established a total of 6,218 individuals (1,295 households) as displaced across 569 host families and 178 evacuation centres. The research also mapped the locations of 265 evacuation centres that were used for shelter during the cyclone. Out of the total individuals reported as displaced, 5,714 individuals (1,190 households) were reported as displaced across five Islands (Aore, Araki, Malo,
Mavea and Santo) in Samna Province, 402 individuals (84 households) across Pentecost Island of Penama Province and a total of 102 individuals (21 households) across the island of Ambrym in Malampa Province. The research indicated that the majority of those affected by T.C. Harold were young families, with minors (aged between the ages of 5-18 years) being statistically the most affected followed by individuals under the ages of 30.
The affected population were evenly divided between men and women with 51% of the identified displaced population being male and 49% being female.

From the 1,295 households (6,218 individuals) reported as displaced, the research registered and carried out in-depth interviews with 359 households (1,724 individuals).
This comprised 1,228 individuals (256 households) living with host families/relatives and 496 individuals (103 households) living in evacuation centres. A minority of the total population registered by the research (132 individuals) were recorded as currently displaced outside of the own community, with the greatest number of those displaced outside of their own community recorded as residing on Santo Island. 93% of all households interviewed reported an intention to return to their homes and rebuild. Only 7% (27 households) reported an intention to remain in their current location or move to a new location. Importantly across all locations 73% of the affected population reported an intention to remain in the current locations of displacement for another month.

With the majority of the displaced population having already resided in evacuation centres and/or with host families for over a month (77%), access to primary services was recorded as increasingly important. Access to safe drinking water was noted as a serious concern with up 53% of those displaced reporting not having access to safe drinking water noting those displaced in Santo and Pentecost both respectively reporting that up to 69% and 50% of the population do not have access to safe drinking water. Access to food was also noted as an important primary need with up to 37% of the population reporting a lack of access to food. Noting that the majority of those displaced intend to remain in their current location of displacement for over a month, whilst also holding a longer-term intention to return to their homes, providing access to these basic services may build community resilience and support coordinated return efforts.

Access to greater protection services was also noted as in important area for intervention.
Up to 43% of children in evacuation centres and 67% in host families are recorded as not having access to school. Compounded by reports of child abuse concerns in 22% of evacuation centres and 16% of host families, children are disproportionally affected by T.C. Harold (statistically) and noted by this research as being one of the most vulnerable population groups.

In terms of health and sanitation, the research established a positive correlation with the majority recorded as having access to toilets (albeit primarily not segregated) and the majority having access to health services, with reportedly 109 villages lacking sustained access to health services. The research recorded 8 households as hosting a family member with a disability, 94 households as hosting a family member with poor health and 6 households as hosting a family member with acute health issues. Accordingly, targeted health interventions may partially alleviate some household concerns.

Although up to 70% of the displaced reported their homes to have been completely destroyed up to 93% reported an intention to return to their homes after one month.
The research established that to better strengthen displaced people’s capacities to return to their homes and communities of origin, targeted support in terms of non-food items (NFIs) and cash distributions were recorded as a priority for up to 90% of the affected population.

For more information please contact:
Mr. Dan Salmon
IOM Vanuatu DTM Officer

Ms. Jessie Connell
IOM Vanuatu Chief of Mission