Vanuatu: Earthquake/Tidal Wave - Information Bulletin n° 2

The Disaster

An earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter Scale hit Vanuatu, a 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. The affected area has a total population of
around 12,000. Initial assessments indicate twelve confirmed deaths, with more than 100 injured and
thousands left homeless. Six individuals who were seriously injured have been airlifted to the capital of
Port Vila for further treatment. There has been extensive damage to roads and properties including private
homes, churches and schools and concrete water tankers. Government ministers have flown to the affected
area several times in the last three days but have not been able to reach all the affected areas.

Needs and Red Cross/Red Crescent Action

The Federation has released CHF 50,000 from the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to respond to
the initial relief needs. The Suva Regional Delegation, in coordination with the National Society, is
making arrangements to support the National procurement of the needed relief items. The Head of
Regional Delegation in Suva, together with the Vanuatu Red Cross, will be flying to Vanuatu to carry out
an assessment of needs. The Australian Red Cross is ready to support the technical health, water and
sanitation assessment. Depending on the needs, a Preliminary Appeal may be launched.

Several coordination meetings between the Government of Vanuatu, diplomatic missions, donor agencies
and humanitarian organisations have taken place. The Governments' National Disaster Coordination
Office indicated the following as the priority needs for 1,000 individuals: shelter materials, non-food items
such as blankets, second hand clothes, calico, axes, and bush knives, medicine, food such as rice and
tinned meat and fish, water purification tablets, and jerry cans.

The Vanuatu Red Cross is a member of the National Disaster Management Office and has been involved
in all coordination meetings. At the request of the government, the Vanuatu Red Cross offered and
provided the following items from the Disaster Preparedness containers donated by the Japanese Red
Cross for dispatch to the affected areas in Pentecost: 200 tarpaulins, 150 blankets, 13 cooking sets, 20
bales of used clothes, 25 rolls of calico, 1,000 water purification tablets, 50 jerry cans for water.

The Kuala Lumpur Regional Delegation is supporting the media coverage of this relief operation through
its Information Unit.

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