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All 23 VSA volunteers and staff in Vanuatu confirmed safe

FRIDAY 20 MARCH

All 23 VSA volunteers and staff in Vanuatu are now confirmed safe.

Last night, Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA) made contact with our volunteers in Pentecost. We have now been in touch with all 23 volunteers and staff in Vanuatu, and are happy to confirm they are safe and well.

VSA was able to communicate with our 17 volunteers and two staff in Port Vila and Santo soon after Cyclone Pam, but communications to the outer islands of Malekula, Tanna and Pentecost were down. VSA was in constant contact with all our volunteers before the cyclone, and knew they were in safe accommodation with extra supplies.

On Monday, March 16, VSA chartered a plane with World Vision to Tanna Island in order to make contact with VSA volunteer Peter Brown, a Water, Sanitation and Health Adviser for World Vision. Peter has decided to stay on Tanna to help with the recovery.

On Tuesday, VSA heard from our volunteers in Malekula, who have also chosen to stay and work with their partners.

Since then, VSA has worked with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) to charter flights within Vanuatu, allowing us to confirm the safety of our volunteer on Pentecost.

VSA International Programme Manager Junior Ulu said, “Our partners’ support is vital, and we thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, ADRA, World Vision and the Red Cross for their work with us in confirming our volunteers are safe and well. We also would like to thank the volunteers and staff in Vanuatu for their courage and dedication. We are thinking of them.”

VSA CEO Gill Greer said, “Vanuatu is the most vulnerable country in the world to natural disasters, and the extent of the damage is sobering. VSA has worked in Vanuatu for 50 years, and we will continue to work with the Ni-Vanuatu people to get their country back on its feet. Our volunteers are already working with the Vanuatu Government, their communities and partner organisations on the recovery. Over the coming months, we will adapt our long term programme to reflect their priorities.”

Before Cyclone Pam, our volunteers were working in education, agriculture, business support and health care, as well as supporting infrastructure with water, sanitation and waste management. VSA volunteers are now working on the crisis response with the Vanuatu National Disaster Management Office and the Ministry of Health.

To help the people of Vanuatu now, donate to the VSA Cyclone Pam Vanuatu Appeal: www.vsa.org.nz.

ENDS

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