27 Mar 2015

Vanuatu govt defends aid delivery

8:18 pm on 27 March 2015

The Vanuatu government is defending its efforts in distributing Cyclone Pam aid, after some communities have complained of not receiving any relief two weeks after the storm hit.

Medical need - Mataso village residents queue up to be assessed.

Medical need - Mataso village residents queue up to be assessed. Photo: RNZ / Koroi Hawkins

A spokesperson, Kiery Manassah, says aid has been delivered to all the islands but has not reached every village due to logistical issues.

He says the government is doing its best to make sure no one is left out.

"With this kind of disaster, there's bound to be a lot of complaints and given the logistical challenges that we have, it's very easy to be out there throwing stones, but you know, the government is trying its best. And people, I can assure them that they will get the assistance."

Kiery Manassah is urging those who have not received relief supplies to make use of the resources they have.

"I know that people are yet to receive assistance, we cannot deny that. But the people at the NDMO they are trying every best, and I'm sure they will be able to mobilise all the resources that they have at their disposal to make sure that the assistance gets to the people most in need."

Kiery Manassah says with the help of international donors, those who have not yet received aid should receive relief soon.

UNICEF readies aid for cyclone victims

UNICEF readies aid for cyclone victims Photo: supplied

Meanwhile, Unicef New Zealand has raised 1.5 million US dollars for Vanuatu.

The money will buy more food, water and medical supplies to meet the immediate needs of 82-thousand children affected by Cyclone Pam.

Unicef's executive director, Vivian Maidaborn, says it's a relief to reach this milestone.

"The money has to be there for us to get the supplies there. And New Zealand has done a phenomenal job at doing our part. And now we have to start thinking about what's the next bit, and how much will that cost."

Vivian Maidaborn says when all the bills are in for Unicef's initial response to the cyclone, the cost will be 4.8 million dollars.

In addition, the Vanuatu government is appealing for 30 million US dollars from other countries to boost its relief response.

Furthermore, New Caledonia is sending 800 kilogrammes of seeds to help people in Vanuatu who have lost their food gardens.

They include pumpkin, squash and cabbage seeds which are expected to allow the replanting of about 630 hectares of food.

Government and local growers in New Caledonia have released funds for the shipment.

And on Friday, a New Zealand Navy helicopter has been surveying Epi island to assess what areas need the most help.

A Navy ship, HMNZS Canterbury, is anchored at the top of Epi, and government officials are liasing with village chiefs to identify what their priorities are.

The ship's commander, Simon Rook, says clearing roads will be their first job.

"It's been reported that the main road that runs up and down this side of the island is quite cluttered and that will be certainly a task that we will be getting into as soon as we can as well, so they have access up and down the island."

Simon Rook says his crew are scouting out safe landing spots so they can start work on the island on Saturday.

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