Thursday, 9 April 2015

Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu: ShelterBox aid is being distributed in Tanna

VANUATU — (April 8, 2015) — Urgent Shelter Kits are on their way to communities devastated by Cyclone Pam on Tanna Island, in Vanuatu’s south. Cyclone Pam struck Vanuatu with devastating force, claiming 8 lives and destroying homes, hospitals and crops.
The Category Five cyclone was one of the worst storms to ever hit the region. It is estimated that 166,000 people have been affected, and between 50-90% of infrastructure destroyed.
ShelterBox is working with CARE International who is responding in Tafea Province in the south, where 32,000 people live.
Large parts of Tanna, which is home to around 24,000 people, remain cut off due to landslides and severe cyclone damage making many roads impassable. Aerial assessments indicate that in some communities all the homes have been severely damaged or destroyed.
“Decimation is the only word for what has happened here,” said CARE Vantuatu’s Program Manager Charlie Damon in Lenakal on Tanna Island’s western coast. “You cannot see a leaf on a tree. What used to be a green island, is now brown. All crops have been destroyed, all traditional housing is gone. People are without water. This is a grave situation down here.”
“This is a country of 83 islands stretched over many hundreds of miles of ocean. Most people in the country live in rural communities, and even making contact with most areas remains extremely challenging,” said CARE’s Tom Perry in Port Vila.
“Communications are still down, roads are blocked by landslides and many bridges are broken or have collapsed. CARE is doing what we can to get help to those that need it, but this is a massive logistical challenge.”
ShelterBox Response Teams are busy assisting survivors in the Tafea Province with urgently needed shelter. ShelterBox volunteer Greg Moran (AUS) reports that the urgently needed Shelter Kits which have arrived today on a barge had travelled overnight from Port Vila. The barge is carrying a large amount of ShelterBox aid for the island and the team’s next challenge will be to get the aid to where it is most needed.

Media contact: Mike Cahill +64 (0) 21 328084

About ShelterBox: Every year thousands of communities, often with no warning, lose their homes, their possessions and their livelihoods. Every day they are faced with a battle for survival.
ShelterBox provides emergency shelter and vital supplies to support communities around the world overwhelmed by disaster and humanitarian crisis.
Since we were founded in 2000, we have responded to more than 250 earthquakes, floods, volcanoes, tsunamis, hurricanes, landslides, typhoons and conflict, in some 90 countries, delivering emergency humanitarian aid to communities in need.