Vanuatu Cyclone

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Updated 13 March 2016

The Situation

Tropical Cyclone Pam caused widespread destruction across the eastern and south-eastern islands of the country on 13 March, 2015. The eye of the Category 5 cyclone passed close to Efate Island, affecting about 188,000 people across 22 islands. An estimated 15,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, about 96 per cent of food stocks decimated, and the water supply of 110,000 people disrupted, destroyed or contaminated.

Oxfam’s Response

Oxfam has been coordinating the Vanuatu Humanitarian Team (VHT) since its inception in 2011, supporting humanitarian coordination for both disaster preparedness and response.

In the 12 months since the cyclone, Oxfam has been working together with more than 50 organisations under the lead of the Vanuatu Government to ensure relief efforts are coordinated and aid is getting to those who need it most. So far, these efforts have reached almost 25,000 people in more than 60 communities on four islands: Efate, Emae, Epi and Ambrym.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

  • 265,800 litres of clean water was water trucked to 3,474 people on Efate Island
  • 13,809 people now have access to clean water through water system rehabilitation
  • 20,928 people in Efate, Epi and Ambrym received hygiene kits
  • About 2,500 people in 10 communities and four schools were provided with large-scale gravity-fed water supply system reconstruction
  • Infrastructure such as new toilets, hand washing stations and rainwater catchments were installed for 2,077 students in 28 schools and kindergartens
  • 13,292 people attended hygiene awareness sessions and received information and communication materials about sanitation; a further 10,453 people learnt about good hygiene practices through watching a theatrical performance by Oxfam’s partner, Wan SmolBag

Emergency Food Security and Vulnerable Livelihoods

  • At least 5,218 people in Efate and Epi received seeds
  • 5,955 people received kits containing tools and gardening supplies
  • At least 4,579 individuals received vouchers that can be exchanged for tools, equipment and other goods
  • 1,753 people have taken part in cash-for-work programmes
  • 769 people received training in income generating activities

From Response to Recovery

Oxfam’s humanitarian work in Vanuatu has now moved from the response phase to the recovery phase. Our programmes for the next period will reflect this shift in focus, as well as the predicted impacts of El Niño on weather patterns. We will also expand the geographic scope of our work to include Buninga, Tongariki, Tongoa, North Epi, additional vulnerable communities in Efate, and potentially other islands in the region.

Report: Oxfam in Vanuatu: Cyclone Pam Response released on 13 March 2016

Two-thirds of the nation has been affected after Cyclone Pam made a direct hit on Vanuatu. (Isso Nihmei/ 350.org)
Residents flee as Cyclone Pam rips through Vanuatu. (Isso Nihmei/ 350.org)
With winds of up to 250kmh, traditional housing, which is prevalent throughout the island nation, offered little to no protection to residents. (Isso Nihmei/ 350.org)
Ninety per cent of houses in Port Vila, Vanuatu’s capital, have been damaged. (Philippe Metois)
Around 15,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed, leaving many people in Vanuatu homeless. This child stands in front of what was his home. (Philippe Metois)
A child in Port Vila finds a stuffed toy amidst the debris. (Philippe Metois)
After Cyclone Pam devastated Vanuatu, most residents in Port Vila lost their homes. The need for humanitarian aid is enormous. (Philippe Metois)
Tanna is among the hardest hit areas. Much has been destroyed, including essentials like water storage tanks. (Amy Christian/OxfamAUS)
A damaged hospital in Tanna. (Amy Christian/OxfamAUS)
Humanitarian aid arrives in Port Vila soon after Cyclone Pam hits the island nation. (Sophie Ford/OxfamAUS)
Oxfam’s humanitarian emergency responders distribute hygiene kits at an evacuation centre in Port Vila. (Amy Christian/OxfamAUS)
Fire truck distributes water to communities in Etas Village on the Island of Efate with Oxfam’s support. (Amy Christian/OxfamAUS)
Leitare, 7, playing on the remains of an Epau Village Primary School classroom. (Vlad Sokhin/Panos/OxfamAUS)
Wolda Edward, 52, helps clean his neighbour’s yard in Eton Village. (Vlad Sokhin/Panos/OxfamAUS)
The community of Utas, on the south east of Ambrym Island, help unload Oxfam’s hygiene kits. (Amy Christian/ Oxfam Australia)
Vanuatu has been in a state of emergency since Cyclone Pam hit. Many schools have been damaged, affecting around 57,000 children. (Amy Christian/ Oxfam Australia)
Grace Kalengor, 23, an English teacher at Eton Secondary School trying to dry out the library books that survived Cyclone Pam. Her school lost most of the books in during the disaster. 。(Vlad Sokhin/Panos/OxfamAUS_Library)
Epau Village on Efate Island was badly damaged by Cyclone Pam. Most of them now stay at the local school, which has become a shelter. (Vlad Sokhin/Panos/OxfamAUS)