Vanuatu: Urgent need for shelter and clean drinking water after double cyclones

Vanuatu Red Cross volunteers Jeff and Hilda conduct damage assessments and relief distribution in Bladiniere, Port Vila.

Vanuatu Red Cross volunteers Jeff and Hilda conduct damage assessments and relief distribution in Bladiniere, Port Vila.

Photo: Philippe Carillo / IFRC

Port Vila, 14 March 2023 – There is an urgent need for shelter and clean drinking water as hundreds of thousands of people have been affected by back-to-back cyclones in communities across Vanuatu. Hundreds of people are still seeking shelter in evacuation centres as some have had their houses damaged or completely destroyed. Access to clean drinking water has also been affected as water sources were damaged due to the severity of impact of the two cyclones. Cyclones Judy and Kevin affected over 160,000 people across the six provinces of the country. Ten days since the cyclones hit, most communities remain without power as authorities continue to struggle on finishing the repair on damaged power lines.

Vanuatu Red Cross has been working closely in coordination with the local National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) and providing immediate assistance to those in evacuation centres and in severely affected communities. Over 300 trained Red Cross volunteers have been deployed to assist with the disaster response and continue to work tirelessly up to now.

Vanuatu Red Cross Secretary General, Dickinson Tevi said:

“Our volunteers have been on the ground since last week conducting assessments and distributions to the affected communities. Most houses have suffered damages while some people have had their houses completely blown away. That just shows the scale of damages caused by these two cyclones. It was massive.”

“We are glad to have been able to establish contact with our branch on Tanna island and our volunteers are already distributing relief items to affected households.”

The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has released emergency funds totalling 799,389 Swiss Francs to provide support to Vanuatu Red Cross for nine months. With the support of IFRC, Vanuatu Red Cross volunteers have so far reached over 5,000 people with immediate relief. Over 700 shelter toolkits for repairing of damaged houses, 1,000 tarpaulins, 500 hygiene kits for cleaning and washing, 200 solar lanterns and 900 jerry cans for storing of water have been distributed to severely affected communities.

Head of the IFRC Pacific Office, Katie Greenwood, said:

“We are already assisting Vanuatu Red Cross to scale up its activities with this response as critical needs become clearer with assessment data coming in from affected communities. We have already deployed IFRC and Red Cross personnel in key technical roles such as Shelter cluster coordination and IT and telecommunications, to assist with operations and are looking at deploying additional staff in the coming days based on gaps identified by Vanuatu Red Cross."

“The impact of these two cyclones will be felt for a long time and will need a well-coordinated response plan to get people back on their feet, the soonest time possible.”

For more information, contact:

In Port Vila: Soneel Ram, +678 517 0388, [email protected]

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