15 APR 2015
Cyclone Pam 1 month on: clean water still high priority
Cyclone Pam made a direct hit on Vanuatu on Friday 13 March, tearing through the archipelago with winds of up to 250 km/h. More than 13,000 homes were damaged and people’s livelihoods were devastated. One month after Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu, water remains a high priority, with small islands dependent on rainwater most in need.
Oxfam has been delivering clean water to thousands of people to prevent the spread of disease, and efforts are now turning to sustainable solutions that can be managed by communities. More than 17,000 people have been reached.
We have trucked over 220,000L of clean water to six affected communities and have been coordinating the rehabilitation of pumped water systems and cleaning wells. Hygiene kits were distributed which gave over 6,700 people access to basic hygiene materials such as soap, blankets, underwear and basic toiletries to help prevent the outbreak of disease.
With 80 per cent of the population reliant on agricultural production prior to the cyclone, there is urgent need for crops to be replanted, which is why Oxfam is providing seeds and tools to those affected. The next phase will be restoring water systems and distributing pipes, pumps and tarpaulins to assist with rainwater harvesting.
Oxfam has planned to implement a 24-month rehabilitation programme focusing on various areas. This includes sustainable clean water supply, sanitation solutions (e.g. repairing damaged latrines or installing new latrines), hygiene promotion, as well as rapid livelihood recovery, such as the provision of financial aid and re-establishment of small-scale agro-industry.
Besides this work, Oxfam will focus on protecting women and children as evacuation camps may pose security risks.
Oxfam currently leads the coordination of the Vanuatu Humanitarian Team (VHT) and is managing it in the Cyclone Pam response. The VHT is a network of local and international NGOs, and government agencies which work closely with the Vanuatu National Disaster Management Office (NDMO). The office was established in 2011 to improve the coordination of humanitarian responses.