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Vanuatu: thousands remain in need of water, food, shelter

Vanuatu: one month on, thousands remain in need of water, food and shelter

Port Vila, Vanuatu (10 April 2015) – Almost one month after Cyclone Pam came through the archipelago of Vanuatu, the Government-led response is in urgent need of funding to continue basic humanitarian relief efforts such as food, safe drinking water and shelter.

The cyclone destroyed more than 90 per cent of crops, leaving a population that relies heavily on subsistence agriculture without a source of income and the possibility of long-term food insecurity. About 110,000 people have no access to safe drinking water and in some communities all sanitation facilities were destroyed. Some 6,000 people are still living in makeshift or temporary shelters in the most affected provinces of Tafea and Shefa.

“I would like to congratulate the Government and people of Vanuatu for their tremendous efforts to overcome the devastating impact of the cyclone. However, there is no time for complacency. Basic life-saving assistance in support of local efforts is still urgently needed,” Humanitarian Coordinator for Vanuatu Ms. Osnat Lubrani said after returning from a Government-led assessment mission. She urged partners to continue their support for relief efforts while also investing in recovery and reconstruction. “Vanuatu will need a lot of help in rebuilding infrastructure, replanting of crops and providing communities with employment opportunities as the country gradually transitions to longterm recovery,” she added.

The Flash Appeal, launched on 24 March seeks $29.9 million to cover the needs of 166,000 cycloneaffected people for three months. To date $10.7 million (36 per cent) was pledged since the launch of the appeal.

Ms. Lubrani joined one of 22 teams with a total of 132 disaster experts from the Government of Vanuatu and response partners that assessed over 50 communities on all 22 affected islands to identify remaining response gaps and advise long-term planning of response and recovery efforts.

The response continues to scale up its relief efforts, with work focused on providing urgently needed shelter materials, food and safe drinking water as well as healthcare.

While relief efforts will continue over the next weeks, recovery activities have already started. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with a number of other UN Agencies including the International Labour Organization (ILO), UNWOMEN and UNHABITAT, is in the process of developing a joint programme aimed at restoring livelihoods and building community resilience.


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