Vanuatu: Rebuilding a nation three months after Cyclone Pam

News and Press Release
Originally published

Three months after Cyclone Pam devastated Vanuatu, World Vision has assisted more than 30,000 people to access food and essential household items like tarpaulins, kitchen sets and hygiene kits.

Despite Cyclone Pam leaving the tropical oasis barren after it smashed its way across the country on 13 March, the nation’s green banyan trees are lush once more. And as the landscape of Vanuatu recovers, so too, do the people of Vanuatu.

On the island of Tanna, one of the islands most affected by Cyclone Pam, World Vision has supported the Government of Vanuatu and the World Food Programme to distribute emergency food aid, and the Department of Agriculture to distribute seeds and tools. In addition, thousands of households have been given items like soap, diapers, cooking pots and tarpaulins.

World Vision also partnered with the Ministry of Health and UNICEF to immunise more than 6,000 children on Tanna against measles, helping to reduce the spread of disease to some of the cyclone’s smallest and most vulnerable survivors. Deworming and vitamin tablets were also issued.

World Vision Tanna Emergency Response Manager, Nini Tamasui, is amazed by the recovery so far.

“The tress here, they were all gone, the crops all gone, the houses all gone…but now they are standing again. There are not just leaves on Tanna, but flowers. People started rebuilding their houses and replanting their gardens almost right away.

“World Vision hasn’t just helped people with immediate urgent supplies, but has also been looking at ways to support the people of Vanuatu in the long-term. It’s easy to think because the tress have grown back that life is back to normal, but it will take many years for Vanuatu to be fully recovered,” Mr Tamasui said.

World Vision repaired water sources damaged by Cyclone Pam, providing communities with access to clean water, and also so that sources will be protected from future disasters.

Communities will also be trained how to incorporate local building materials with contemporary building methods so homes and structures will be constructed in a stronger and safer manner, and be less prone to future disasters.

Mr Tamasui said “Sometimes it takes a disaster to prepare for a disaster. We’re helping to make sure people don’t just recover from Pam, but when the next disaster comes that people, their homes and livelihoods are more resilient.”

World Vision’s response has been supported by the Governments of Australia, New Zealand, UK, Canada, the Netherlands and the United States and the generosity of World Vision supporters globally.

For more information or to interview Mr Nini Tamsui or Chloe Morrison please contact: Emergency Communications Officer, Chloe Morrison +678-543-6518.