Flash appeal launched for cyclone-affected Vanuatu
The Government of Vanuatu and the United Nations today issued a call for US$29.9 million to help with ongoing relief efforts following the extensive destruction caused by Tropical Cyclone Pam. According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the cyclone, which struck Vanuatu 11 days ago, was one of the most powerful storms to ever make land fall in the Pacific and was comparable in intensity to Typhoon Haiyan which hit the Philippines in November 2013.
“The people affected by Tropical Cyclone Pam face serious immediate risks to their health and wellbeing, as well as threats to their livelihoods and future resilience to disasters,” the UN's Humanitarian Coordinator for the archipelagic nation, Osnat Lubrani, said at the launch of the appeal today. “We stand with the Government of Vanuatu and urgently seek the support of the international community at a time of immense need.”
The appeal seeks to ensure that initial support provided by the Government, donors and humanitarian partners are sustained to cover the needs of affected people until the end of June 2015. According to the appeal some 75,000 people are in need of shelter and 110,000 people do not have access to safe drinking water. Overall, an estimated 166,600 people have been affected by the cyclone – more than half the country’s population.
The Flash Appeal seeks to ensure the provision of life-saving assistance in four priority areas: water, food, shelter and health care, with other key areas including protection for vulnerable groups and assistance to return children to school.
The cyclone struck Vanuatu (population 234,000), affecting the capital of Port Vila, as a category 5 cyclone on the evening of 13 March. The cyclone’s eye passed close to Efate Island, where the capital is located, and winds were estimated to have reached 250kmph with gusts peaking at around 320kmph.
Government and aid agency operations continue to face considerable logistical difficulties, especially in terms of reaching remote islands of the archipelago, which spans more than 12,000 square kilometres (4,700 square miles).