Vanuatu: Earthquake/Tidal Wave - Information Bulletin n° 1

The Disaster

An earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter Scale hit Vanuatu, chain of islands located in the South
Pacific, at 12:21 am (local time) on 27 November 1999. The earthquake caused a tidal wave which
affected the islands of Pentecost, Ambrym, Paama and Epi. Initial assessments indicate twelve
confirmed deaths, with more than 100 injured and thousands left homeless.

Three Government Ministers flew to the affected area and have returned to the capital of Port Vila to
brief the Prime Minister as well as others involved in the Governments' National Disaster Management
Office which includes the Vanuatu Red Cross.

Red Cross/Red Crescent Action

The Vanuatu Red Cross has provided an initial distribution of blankets and jerry cans for water from the
disaster preparedness containers donated by the Japanese Red Cross. The Vanuatu Red Cross has also
been in close contact with the National Disaster Management Office, and are coordinating response
actions with the Department of Health, Police authorities, and the Department of Natural Resources.
Depending on further assessments, a state of national disaster may be declared, and in this instance the
Red Cross will be ready to participate in further assessments and relief operations support.

In response to the request from the Secretary General of the Vanuatu Red Cross, the Federation
Regional Delegation, through the Federation Delegate (New Zealand Red Cross Logistics Delegate), is
in the process of sending relief supplies to the Vanuatu Red Cross to replenish disaster relief stocks.

The Federation has released CHF 50,000 from Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to respond to
the initial relief needs of the earthquake and tidalwave victims.

For further information, please contact Kentaro Nagazumi, Desk Officer; Tel.41-22-730-4273
( or Abbas Gullet, Head of Regional Delegation; Tel.679-311855

Hiroshi Higashiura
Asia & Pacific Department

Peter Rees-Gildea
Operations Funding and Reporting Department