4 Feb 2011

Vanuatu disaster chief disappointed at delayed approval of relief funding for cyclone victims

2:05 pm on 4 February 2011

The National Disaster Management Office in Vanuatu says it's disappointing it's taken almost three weeks for cyclone relief funding to be approved by the cabinet.

The government has approved the spending of about 800-thousand dollars on food and the distribution of emergency supplies to the province of Tafea.

Cyclone Vania destroyed crops there in the second week of January, and an estimated 6,000 households are now making do with the remaining crops and food provided by family members outside the province.

The director of the National Disaster Management Office Job Esau says he hopes the relief operation can now begin next week, but the funding delay is frustrating

"I am a bit disappointed to see things are moving very slowly because of process and procedures that are in place, and not only that but to finance that was supposed to be put in place so that we could react very quickly. That is the disappointing side of what I am doing here."

Job Esau says negotiations are underway with foreign partners to meet the shortfall in government funding.