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World Vision ready with aid as deadly Cyclone Pam passes

World Vision ready with aid as deadly Cyclone Pam passes

Cyclone Pam has left the archipelago of Vanuatu reeling after slamming through the capital Port Vila; reportedly claiming lives and destroying homes.

World Vision’s staff on the ground will be moving to assess the damage left in the wake of the devastating storm as soon as it is safe to do so, but the cyclone is still moving through some of Vanuatu’s remote islands.

It is thought the cyclone has caused heavy flooding, landslides, and mass destruction of buildings.

Winds reached speeds of up to 270km/h as Cyclone Pam made a direct hit on Port Vila, after previously being expected to miss slightly.

World Vision staff in Vanuatu said Friday night was terrifying, with strong winds lashing shelters.

World Vision Vanuatu Communications Officer Chloe Morrison said she spent hours unable to tell how bad the impact of the storm would be.

“Over the past five hours we've had huge winds. Cyclone shutters rattling, things flying into the roof. I'm yet to decide if you can't see what's going on outside is a blessing or curse. Phone lines are up but it is still too dangerous to go outside,” Chloe said.

As soon as it is safe, World Vision’s emergency assessment teams will head out to assess the damage and work with local authorities to find out what the community needs are. While staff say the total impact of the storm and the needs of communities won’t be known until Cyclone Pam has passed, they are expecting to find significant demand for clean water, food, shelter, health care and other essential relief items.

World Vision has been working in Vanuatu since 1981 and has 80 staff working in six provinces across Vanuatu. Staff have spent the past week alerting communities to the weather warnings about the cyclone and helping them prepare for the impact. World Vision had helped form community management committees, which were mobilised in the lead-up to Cyclone Pam’s arrival bolstering their shelters or making evacuation plans.

World Vision has prepositioned water, food, blankets, tarpaulins, and shelter, hygiene and kitchen kits in Port Villa, Santo Island and Tanna Island, as well as advising on disaster preparation, before the cyclone hit.

SOLOMON ISLANDS

Heavy rainfall from Cyclone Pam has also impacted several parts of Solomon Islands earlier in the week, and Malaita and Temotu Provinces were the two provinces affected the most.

World Vision has started undertaking needs assessments with the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) who has reported houses have been damaged or destroyed by the strong wind and heavy rain while couple of houses were destroyed by landslide. Road access into the provincial capital, Auki was cut-off by flooding river and food gardens were destroyed by flooding and landslides. There are no reports of fatalities, however, there have been reports of injuries due to falling trees and coconuts.

In Temotu there are reports of damaged houses and people have moved inland for shelter. One water source has been contaminated and most of their fruit trees and gardens have been damaged. Most areas reported their food gardens destroyed and some are still underwater. People are now faced with an immediate need for food.

World Vision has been working in the Solomon Islands since 1980 and has 167 staff across the country on standby to respond. World Vision is partnering with the government (NDMO) assessment and assist wherever possible.

***
World Vision New Zealand has made some initial funds available to its Vanuatu office to kick-start the relief effort. Donations can be made via World Vision New Zealand's Asia Pacific Emergency Fund
www.worldvision.org.nz

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