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It has been nearly a month since Tropical Cyclone Pam tore through the archipelago of Vanuatu, affecting an estimated 166,000 people. 75,000 of those left homeless in need of emergency shelter and 100,000 requiring supplies of clean drinking water.
Emergency relief has been able to reach all of the 22 island affected by Pam despite major logistical challenges raised by the spread of the islands. There is a long chain of transportation including shipping, driving by 4x4 and, in some cases, supplies need to be walked to isolated villages. Aid workers have been impressed by the resilience of people rebuilding their lives, however many are still in need of essentials.
Major emerging issues are concerned with long-term food security and water cleanliness. As a population that mainly relies on subsistence farming, the loss of about 75% of crops and 50% of animals will drastically affect the population of Vanuatu. The UN estimates that $29.9million is needed to cover the needs of the people for the next 3 months. So far, about $6.4million has been pledged through the UN Flash Appeal. This is an emergency response plan concerning 5 main humanitarian issues; lack of safe drinking water, insufficient access to food, need for emergency shelter, need for medical facilities and supplies and insufficient access to people in need. The UN has already started providing families with seed kits. Replanting of crops is a priority in order to minimise long-term reliance on donated foods.
THE SITUATION IN VANUATU
On the evening of Friday March 13th Cyclone Pam, described by the UN as one of the worst cyclones in Pacific history, hit Vanuatu and destroyed entire villages. Throughout the night and continuing on the 14th of March, the category 5 cyclone tore through the eastern islands of Vanuatu with winds of around 270kmh, gusts peaking at 320kmh. Although Vanuatu experiences a regular cyclone season, locals say this is the worst they have ever witnessed.
Despite some aid agencies, such as World Vision attempting to prepare communities for the oncoming cyclone, about half of Vanuatu's population of 267,000 people have been affected by this natural disaster. President Baldwin Lonsdale has said that about 90% of buildings in Port Vila, Vanuatu's capital situated on the main island of Efate, have been destroyed. Reports and photos of the island of Tanna display the impact of the tropical cyclone. Over 80% of homes and buildings are partially or completely destroyed after bearing the full force of Pam. Recent reports state that 3,300 people are taking shelter in 37 evacuation centres.
We like giving and like useful gifts that encourage positive change! The Banzaid website has now opened an online gift shop! We want to give you an opportunity to send a gift of life.
The online gift shop has a selection of gifts for specific needs in Papua New Guinea and Bangladesh. You can purchase a gift for one of our projects in the name of a friend or family member and get a card that you can send to them telling them about it.
For rural communities in Chandpur, Bangladesh, there are practical items such as smoke-free cooking stoves, improved toilets and wells for safe drinking water, giving people opportunities to learn through community seminars, materials for children's schooling. For the coffee growers in PNG there will be seedlings for new coffee bushes and a variety of new crops, also a selection of hand tools.
Buy an Easter gift! The Gift Store is open now. Visit us HERE