Vanuatu on road to recovery, six months on from Cyclone Pam, says Oxfam

Media Releases article written on the 13 Sep 2015

The generosity of donors throughout the world has enabled Oxfam Australia to help 25,000 people in Vanuatu since Tropical Cyclone Pam struck six months ago.

On 13 March, the eye of the Category 5 cyclone passed close to Efate Island – the location of Vanuatu’s capital Port Vila – affecting about 188,000 people across 22 islands. An estimated 15,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, about 96% of food stocks decimated and the water supply of 110,000 people was disrupted, destroyed or contaminated.

Oxfam Australia’s Acting Chief Executive Pam Anders said as we all became aware of the scale of devastation people were quick to respond, donating about $1.2 million since the cyclone.

“The generosity of people around the globe has been pivotal in Oxfam’s humanitarian response in Vanuatu,” Ms Anders said.

“Oxfam has reached about 25,000 people in more than 60 communities on three islands since Cyclone Pam struck.

“The people of Vanuatu have shown resilience and strength over what has been a tremendously difficult time and while there is still a lot more to be done, they are on the road to recovery.”

In the six months since the cyclone, more than 50 organisations, both local and international, have worked together under the lead of the Vanuatu Government to ensure relief efforts were coordinated and aid was getting to those who need it most.

Oxfam’s humanitarian response has focused on the areas of water, sanitation and hygiene, gender, emergency food security and vulnerable livelihoods. Oxfam is also coordinating the Vanuatu Humanitarian Team. This includes 11 humanitarian agencies based in Vanuatu, including UN agencies and the Red Cross.

Donations to Oxfam Australia, in response to Cyclone Pam, have helped in a number of ways, including:

  • 265,800 litres of clean water delivered to 3,474 beneficiaries through water trucking activities on Efate Island.
  • 13,809 people accessed clean water through water system rehabilitation.
  • 20,928 people on Efate and Ambrym Islands received hygiene kits.
  • 700 people across eight communities – including two schools and a dispensary – provided with large-scale gravity-fed water supply system reconstruction.
  •  10,000 people attended hygiene awareness sessions and received Information, Education and Communication materials.
  • Oxfam distributed seeds to at least 5,218 people on Efate and Epi islands.
  • 1,523 people received livelihoods kits made up of tools and gardening supplies.
  • Oxfam distributed vouchers for people to exchange for tools, equipment and other goods, benefitting at least 4,016 individuals.Humanitarian activities have now moved from the response phase into the recovery phase, and Oxfam’s programming for the next period will reflect this shift in focus, as well as the predicted impacts of El Niño on weather patterns.

    To arrange interviews or for more information contact Oxfam Australia Media Coordinator Bianca Wordley on 0407 799 365.