Response to Tropical Cyclone Pam

17 March, 2015
Credit: UNICEF Pacific / Alice Clements
Credit: UNICEF Pacific / Alice Clements
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Aid organizations are stepping up relief efforts, and continue to deploy supplies and personnel to support the Government's response to Tropical Cyclone Pam. Vanuatu’s National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) has now confirmed 11 fatalities so far and they report that around 3,370 people are sheltering in more than 48 evacuation centres across the country. Aerial assessments indicate there is severe and widespread damage across the bigger islands of the country such as Efate, Erromango and Tanna. Further aerial assessments are planned in the coming days.

The water supply has now been restored to 80 per cent of Port Vila, the capital and largest city of Vanuatu with work ongoing to restore water in other areas that are so far accessible. Most of the affected provinces usually rely on ground water, which has been contaminated.

Water, sanitation and hygiene kits have been provided to families in evacuation centres. UNICEF has delivered some 2,800 water containers to Tanna, as well as purification tablets and soap. Although 1,400 shelter kits have arrived in-country, an estimated 12,000 kits and 24,000 tarpaulins are urgently required. IOM has activated surge support to the national authorities in managing evacuation centres. Initial agriculture damage estimates indicate significant losses to crops and livestock. Food security will be an issue so people can rebuild their lives.

Vanuatu has a population of 267,000 spread over 65 islands. About 47,000 people live in the capital.

For the latest information on the emergency response go to: Cyclone Pam Situation Report, No. 2.

Some identified initial needs:

  • Emergency food aid for an estimated 19,000 households, based on the path of the cyclone.
  • Initial agriculture damage estimates, from Port Vila, and aerial surveys of Tanna, Ambrym, Emae and Epi islands indicate significant losses to crops and livestock.
  • UNICEF reports that 28 schools in Efate and six in Torba and Penama are being used as evacuation centres. There is an estimated 70,000 school-aged children, from early childhood through secondary school, affected.
  • There is a need to set up temporary learning spaces as the majority of schools are expected to be affected – a high priority for both resumed learning but also to help with psycho-social healing and child protection.

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