Tag Archives: Cyclone Pam destruction

Villagers Buried Food and Water to Survive – After Cyclone

This is a nice ending to a horrible story last week about Cyclone Pam, a category 5 cyclone that swept across several Pacific Island countries before hitting Vanuatu. Lessons to learn from the Melanesian villagers.

Island of Togoa
Destruction in a village on Togoa Island, Vanuatu.

Reuters reported that villagers in Vanuatu buried food and fresh water as one of the strongest storms on record bore down on them, fleeing to churches, schools and even coconut drying kilns as 300 kph winds and massive seas tore their flimsy houses to the ground.

Despite reports of utter devastation six days after Cyclone Pam pummelled the Pacific island nation, Vanuatu appears to be providing something of a lesson in how to survive a category 5 storm.

The United Nations says the official death toll is 11. Many officials anticipate that number will rise once they are able to more thoroughly inspect the outer islands of the scattered archipelago.

Still, the absence of a much higher toll has amazed aid workers and those who lived through it.

“It’s absolutely unbelievable the death toll is so low,” said Richard Barnes, 43, a property valuer from New Zealand who has lived near the capital Port Vila, on Efate island for seven years.

Two days ago, a helicopter flight over the north of Efate revealed scenes of total devastation with at least one coastal village destroyed and no sign of life.

When visited a day later, dozens of villagers were back rebuilding with what materials they could find and reporting only one injury, said Barnes, who was on Cayman Island in 2004 when Hurricane Ivan hit.

“The resilience is amazing … Everyone is just getting on with it, which was different from Cayman where everyone just sat around waiting for something to be done,” Barnes said.

Perched on the geologically active “Ring of Fire”, Vanuatu suffers from frequent earthquakes and tsunamis and has several active volcanoes, in addition to threats from storms and rising sea levels.

China joined in with Australia and New Zealand, pledging $4 Million to assist Vanuatu in the recovering process.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-22/julie-bishop-in-vanuatu/6339270 Julie Bishop meets women at the Vanuatu Crisis Centre. Pic: Jeff Tan Action Aid Australia

From ABC News, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has pledged long-term support for Vanuatu during a visit to the Pacific nation ravaged by Tropical Cyclone Pam.

Ms Bishop, who flew in on a Royal Australian Air Force flight, toured the command centre for cyclone relief efforts in the capital Port Vila, and visited a school and hospital being rebuilt with Australian assistance.

She also met with Vanuatu’s prime minister Joe Natuman and promised on-going support.

“Australia has responded quickly to requests from the government of Vanuatu, we have sent more than 11 military planes over with equipment, lifesaving supplies, humanitarian support personnel,” she said.

Thousands of people remain homeless in the stricken country, as Vanuatu’s government coordinates relief efforts to get immediate aid to more than 60 inhabited remote islands in the archipelago.

It has begun to send out food aid and seedlings to parts of the country hit hardest by Cyclone Pam after a week of assessments and planning.

Aid flows in for Vanuatu, Death Toll Still Unknown

A home-owner tries to make sense if what Cyclone Pam left of his sago palm roof.

As world-wide aid flows in for Vanuatu, death the toll is still unknown.

Communications and some electricity have been installed in parts of Port Vila, after Cyclone Pam’s weekend devastation.


Thank you very much to all the friends/bloggers who shared my post calling for help for Vanuatu. For the latest news, there is power connection and communication in Port Vila. All outer islands still cannot be reached and death toll is still unknown except for the eight initially reported.

Those who are interested to donate to assist recovery work in Vanuatu, please click on the link below. I am sharing this link from Vanuatu friends (including a senior minister and member of parliament)

Donate direct to Cyclone Pam/Vanuatu’s Recovery programme – click here

What are the funds for?

As a community of researchers, volunteers, aid workers, friends and family we are saddened by the loss of life and injuries caused by Cyclone Pam. As an international community with links to Vanuatu we want to help.

Our hearts go out to all our friends and family in Vanuatu.

Funds will be spent directly in Vanuatu on rebuilding essential infrastructure at the Central Hospital, Port Vila. The Central Hospital sustained significant damage and flooding during the cyclone. This is significantly impacting on the care that the hospital can currently offer its patients.

Allocation of funds will be administered on-the-ground by a Committee made up of the Vanuatu High Commissioner or his representative, a representative of the Australian Friends of Vanuatu, and a representative of the Vanuatu Department of Finance.

Who will manage the funds?

This is a joint initiative based on an ongoing partnership between ‘the Australian Friends of Vanuatu’ and the Vanuatu High Commission, located in Canberra.

The request to set up this funds comes directly from the Vanuatu High Commission. The Vanuatu High Commissioner Kalfau Kaloris has been involved in developing this fund with representatives from the Australian Friends of Vanuatu.

The bank account attached to this fund is located in the Vanuatu High Commission, in Canberra. All funds will be properly acquitted to donors.

Vanuatu Needs Your Help

Paradise pounded: Vanuatu in the wake of Cyclone Pam 20150315_Vanuatu_Port Vila Cyclone Pam damage_CARE_Inga Mepham4.jpg Photo: CARE/Inga Mepham

Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced an initial $5 Million Aid recovery package for Vanuatu. The Category 5 Cyclone Pam that struck Vanuatu on Friday has devastated the country. This cyclone is possibly the strongest ever in the south Pacific region. Tens of thousands of people are homeless, without adequate food, water, shelter or sanitation.

The Government of Vanuatu estimates that 80% of homes have been either destroyed or have sustained significant damage. Communications infrastructure has been knocked out in the hardest hit islands and there are grave fears for rural communities that were directly under the path of the cyclone’s eye.

Essential services have been wiped out on most islands, and even in the nation’s capital Port Vila, home to about 60,000, restoring water and electricity may take weeks.

Vanuatu needs your urgent assistance. Here are our suggestions on how to help:

Australia is coordinating drop off points in Australia for relief supplies such as tarps, tents, ropes and tinned food. Please visit their page for details.

Emergency appeals you can donate online to are:

Donate to UNICEF Australia Cyclone Pam appeal

Donate to Red Cross Cyclone Pam Appeal or call 1800 811 700 to make a secure donation

Donate to Oxfam Australia International Crisis Fund – Cyclone Pam

Donate to CARE Australia Cyclone Pam Response or call 1800 020 046

Save The Children Cyclone Pam Appeal or call 1800 76 00 11.

New Zealand
Donate to Red Cross NZ Pacific Disaster Fund

UK and Europe
Donate to UNICEF UK Cyclone Pam fund

Donate to UNICEF USA Cyclone Pam fund
Remember, give responsibly: some fake donation appeals are already circulating on social media. Only give to reputable organisations.