• The second round of distributions has commenced, with the first round now completed in Tanna Island but still under way in some areas of Pentecost and Maewo.
• The Government-led assessment results have raised a number of concerns; two thirds of surveyed communities had severe WASH needs requiring immediate attention.
• Better communication with the affected communities has been a significant gap in the response.
• Coinciding with the recent rains in Port Vila, an increasing number of individuals have been approaching the NDMO and requesting tarpaulins.
• This time of the year is the peak transmission season for vector-borne diseases. Partners are distributing bed nets across the country.
• Around 140 government workers and partners responding to the cyclone aftermath in Tanna Island now have access to high-speed internet
188,000 People affected across the country
110,000 People in need of clean drinking water
60,000 School-age children affected
47,000 People received WASH supplies
19,500 Children vaccinated against measles
30,000 in Tanna Island reached with food
The first round of food distributions is now complete on Tanna Island, where it reached 30,000 people, and is expected to be finalised in the few remaining areas by the end of the week. The second round of distributions commenced in the islands of Erromango, Aniwa, Futuna and Mere Lava, while preparations for the dispatch and distribution to other areas still in progress. Distributions will be led by government agencies, with support from NGOs in some locations. Trucking of food from ports to final delivery points remains a major constraint, which will be exacerbated by the withdrawal of foreign military assets.
This time of the year is the peak transmission season for vector-borne diseases. As of 13 April, more than 22,000 bed nets have been distributed to protect some 29,000 people in Port Vila. Distribution plans for the rest of Vanuatu will be finalised by the end of this week.
Coinciding with the recent rains in Port Vila, an increasing number of individuals have been approaching the NDMO and requesting tarpaulins. Shelter Cluster partners are expediting the distribution of remaining tarpaulin stocks through the Area Councils in Port Vila to help meet the outstanding needs. Key messages on tarpaulin distributions have also been provided through various channels to improve the information flow to affected communities.
Findings from the Second Phase Harmonised Assessments have highlighted a number of concerns. Water systems have been severely damaged in the affected areas, with many of the rainwater catchment areas and gutters destroyed. All sites tested outside Port Vila showed poor water quality, which was affected by debris and entrance of sea water. Nearly all sanitation superstructures have been destroyed in the assessed areas and, as a result, women, children and vulnerable people now lack privacy and, in some cases, safe, bathing facilities. About 30 per cent of assessed communities are now practicing open defecation, compared to 2.5 per cent in 2013.
Women and girls did not have access to sanitary protection materials in two thirds of the surveyed communities.
Significant local recovery in terms of shelter reconstruction was highlighted in many assessed communities, although gaps remain. This is especially the case in Tanna Island and in the capital Port Vila which has a high population living on the urban periphery and in informal settlements. A high proportion of health facilities in Vanuatu were damaged across the country, but only seven were found not to be functioning at all. The provision of services has decreased across all health sectors, with general clinical and child health services severely affected.
Education facilities have been severely affected. Damage was particularly widespread in Shefa and Tafea Provinces, where a decrease in access to toilets at schools was also recorded. Displacement continues to be a concern, with ad hoc evacuation centres in Tanna Island reporting up to 30 families. Communication with affected communities was found to have been a significant gap. Affected people need accurate information on avenues for accessing distributions, their timings and eligibility criteria. There is also a need for targeted assistance to vulnerable people, such as persons living with disabilities, female-headed households and older persons. A report containing the findings of the assessment will be issued on 16 April.
Military forces continue their withdrawal from Vanuatu. Australian air assets are no longer available for transportation of relief within the country, and New Zealand Defence Force assets will leave on 19 April.
Humanitarian partners will turn to commercial transport assets to continue the provision of relief. Engineers from the Fiji Military Response team continue the reconstruction of school buildings in Northern Efate.
The Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) installed satellite equipment on Tanna Island to provide highspeed internet connectivity to the humanitarian community. More than 140 users have already registered for this service.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.