Vanuatu + 1 more

Vanuatu: Tropical Cyclone Harold - Emergency Plan of Action (MDRVU008) DREF Operation update n° 2


Summary of major revisions made to emergency plan of action and/or budget:

This Operations Update is issued to inform stakeholders of revisions made to the budget based on the immediate humanitarian needs and priorities identified from government and VRCS rapid needs assessments in the areas affected by the Tropical Cyclone (TC)
Harold. Due to the needs identified, a third allocation of DREF budget was required by VRCS to meet all operational requirements.
This comprises the following changes:

• Relief items, construction and supplies: This additional DREF allocation is required to replenish the stock of relief items the National Society had to procure immediately after the disaster for immediate distribution to meet the needs of affected people.
Procurement was conducted by the IFRC CCST in Fiji, also through procurement of essential household items from Australian Red Cross and via local procurement in Vanuatu. The amount also includes international shipping and customs clearance costs.
The increase of budget will also cover the procurement of essential household items to replenish VRCS pre-positioned stock that has been distributed during the emergency phase. To complete the replenishment back to levels of pre-positioned stock prior to TC Harold, funding has also been confirmed from Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

• Water, sanitation and hygiene promotion: Inclusion of water and hygiene promotion interventions. Procurement of hardware and implementation of activities that were identified within the EPoA, however not previously prioritized in the previous allocation (gravity feed water systems, handwashing stations, ventilated improved pit - VIP latrines). CHF 58,000 has been provided from OFDA to support WASH activities. Additional donor funding is also being sought in order to complete all WASH priorities.

• International staff: To allocate one month of salary for CCST Manager DRR who covered the position of operations manager for the first month of the operation.

• The budget revision also reallocates underspent budget lines to meet other ongoing operational needs. Due to challenges in reaching affected areas and the longer time required to conduct assessments and distributions, there has been a need to increase a number of budget lines for VRCS to provide required support to affected communities. The main increase in budget is required for transportation (local hire of vehicles, shipment of items to affected areas and fuel costs).

As a result, an additional DREF allocation of CHF 188,661 has been made, bringing the total allocation for this operation to CHF 846,251.


Description of the disaster

TC Harold entered Vanuatu Area of Responsibility on the afternoon of 3 April 2020, before making its first landfall at approximately 11:00 hours local time as a Category 4 at Sanma Province, moving south southeast towards Penama and Malampa and Shefa provinces. At its maximum, its winds were up to 90km/h (47 knots), gusting up to 110 km/h (55 knots). It was later upgraded to a Category 5 as it passed through Sanma (population of 54,184 individuals),
Penama (population of 32,534 individuals), Malampa (population of 40,928 individuals) provinces.
TC Harold has left a trail of destruction across Sanma, Penama and Malampa provinces. Sanma and Penama provinces have been particularly badly affected, with between 80 and 90 per cent of houses partially or completely damaged. Based on the Government of Vanuatu 2016 Population Census, the total population of all three worst affected provinces is approximately 127,646 people whom heavily reliant on farming and fishing, both of which have been disrupted by TC Harold.

Situation of the affected areas according to the latest information provided from NDMO (31 May 2020):

• Preliminary impact reports (aerial assessment/ on-ground observations)

  • Digicel cellular coverage has been restored and is at over 40 per cent in Banks and Santo while Vodafone cellular coverage has been restored to cover 40 per cent of Santo.

• Sanma - Two deaths in Malo and several injuries reported at Northern Provincial Hospital. A woman who was seriously injured was transferred to Vila Central Hospital (VCH).

  • Power outage is still an issue in Luganville since 5 April 2020.

  • Data from Shelter cluster estimates 91 per cent of houses partially or totally destroyed.

• Pentecost - Overflowing rivers have caused major roadblocks.

  • Three people with severe injuries have been transferred from Melsisi Clinic to VCH.

  • Approximately 90 per cent of houses, evacuation centres, gardens, water systems, health facilities and classrooms are completely destroyed.

  • More recent data from Shelter cluster estimates 82 per cent of houses partially or totally destroyed.

• Ambrym - Unconfirmed report of a death related to TC Harold impact.

  • A report from south east shows damage to buildings including houses and some classrooms.

  • Data from shelter cluster estimates 53 per cent of houses partially or totally destroyed.

• Epi, Tongoa and Shepherds Islands - 60 per cent damage to gardens with possible contamination to all water sources including rivers and streams due to flooding and debris.

  • Blockage to some roads due to fallen trees and overflowing rivers.

  • Airports and Sea port access are in good condition.

  • Networks communications and health facilities are in good condition.

  • Initial reports of extensive damages to shelter and infrastructure on Emae Island.

• Efate and Offshore Islands - 50 per cent damage to food gardens (banana and manioc) with possible contamination to all water sources including rivers and streams due to flooding and debris.

  • Networks communications and health facilities are in good condition.

• Port Vila - Those who had been in evacuation centres moved back to their houses once the all clear was given.

  • No damage or injury reported.

• Torba - Severe damage on the island of Merelava.

At the time of this reporting, there are still priority needs in the areas of essential household items and emergency shelter items, first aid (FA) and psychosocial support (PSS), food assistance, heath, livelihoods, protection, and WASH.

Distribution to affected population is ongoing.

TC Harold is the fourth disaster that is currently active in Vanuatu; and comes as the authorities and partner organizations are already responding to emergencies related to the Tanna Ash Fall and the Teouma Flooding and public health (COVID-19). In relation to COVID-19, Vanuatu remains one of a few countries to remain free of any cases. The Government placed restrictions of travel of any foreigners to Vanuatu immediately after TC Harold, and all relief items received into Vanuatu were placed in quarantine for 3-7 days and fumigated prior to being released for distribution to affected population.