Vanuatu: Tropical Cyclone Donna DREF operation n° MDRVU004 update n° 2

Situation Report
Originally published


This update informs the latest progress of the operation.

There have been no further changes to the strategy or Plan of Action since the issue of Operations Update no. 1 in June 2017. All emergency response activities and distributions have now been completed in the Banks Islands, Malekula, Santo and the Torres Islands. A multi-province lessons learned workshop was also held in Santo in early July.

Replenishment items are scheduled to arrive in Port Vila by ship from Kuala Lumpur during August and will be dispatched, along with locally procured replenishment items2 , to VRCS branches in the Banks Islands, Malekula and Santo. Postdistribution monitoring visits and beneficiary satisfaction surveys will also be conducted in August.

A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

On 2 May 2017, the Fiji Meteorological Service provided an early alert for a tropical disturbance (TD21F) forming to the north of Vanuatu. Over the ensuing 24 hours TD21F continued to strengthen and by midnight on 3 May 2017 had developed into Tropical Cyclone (TC) Donna, a category 1 system. Moving in a westerly direction, TC Donna passed north of the Vanuatu group as a category 3 cyclone within 50-100km of the Torres Islands in the Torba province. The system continued west before turning south and passing to the west of Sanma, Malampa and Shefa provinces. TC Donna was later classified as a category 5 cyclone by the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department as it tracked southwards towards New Caledonia sustaining wind speeds of over 215km/hr. TC Donna continued towards New Caledonia and was downgraded to a Tropical Low on 11 May 2017.

Summary of current response

Overview of Host National Society

Vanuatu Red Cross Society (VRCS) works through one headquarters office in Port Vila and six branches covering all administrative provinces of Vanuatu. It has 34 staff based in the national office and 9 staff in the provinces in addition to approximately 508 volunteers throughout the country.volunteers received emergency response training and stocks of emergency relief supplies were pre-positioned in six depots/warehouses throughout the country. In its recovery operation following TC Pam, VRCS focused on building the resilience of local communities to be better prepared to face future disasters. This included establishing and training Community Disaster Climate Change Committees (CDCCC) and volunteers.

VRCS was well prepared for TC Donna. The Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) was activated on 3 May 2017 and a DMIS entry posted on 4 May 2017. Upon confirmation of the development of TC Donna, staff and volunteers in national headquarters and branches were placed on high alert to prepare for the storm and support the evacuation of vulnerable communities as required. A total 300 volunteers were on standby to respond to TC Donna many of whom are trained Emergency Response Team (ERT) members.

The VRCS EOC was scaled down in late May however, the VRCS disaster management (DM) team including logistics continued to liaise and coordinate with the NDMO, provincial governments, and VRCS branches on all aspects of the response.

In early July, VRCS held a lessons learned workshop in Santo for participants from Banks, Malekula, Santo and Torres. This was attended by 20 participants comprised of VRCS staff and volunteers, an IFRC staff member, CDCCC representatives, and the Area Council Secretary (ACS) from Santo.

As of the end of July, all activities associated with the emergency response have been completed. VRCS is now preparing for post-distribution monitoring visits, beneficiary satisfaction surveys, and the arrival and dispatch of replenishment stock to the VRCS branches in the Banks Islands, Malekula and Santo.

Following its experience of Tropical Cyclone Pam (TC Pam) in 2014, VRCS made significant investment in developing its capacity and experience in disaster response. Almost 100