28 Mar 2015

Pam teaches lessons about building

6:09 am on 28 March 2015

The International Red Cross says communities in Vanuatu need to be better prepared for future cyclones.

The aid agency has been working in Vanuatu for the past ten years, and says the number of buildings damaged and people left homeless could have been reduced with better structures.

Image 1 - Matsao village a week ago, when aid officials first visited.

Mataso island Photo: RNZ / Koroi Hawkins

The organisation's communications delegate, Madeline Wilson, says much can be learnt from Cyclone Pam.

"There will be a lot of lessons learnt and there will a lot of work to strengthen community resilience and the hard infrastructure in terms of houses into the future."

Madeline Wilson says she expects the initial response stage to take another couple of weeks before the relief effort enters the recovery stage.

Strong buildings saved lives

Villagers on Lamen Island in Vanuatu's Shefa Province say money from seasonal workers helped build solid houses that could withstand the latest cyclone.

Nurse Leiwia Jimmy whose aid post was partially destroyed by Pam says if it were not for some well built houses in the village built by people who had taken part in seasonal work in New Zealand many people would have died.

"Even though this big cyclone was here through those who went to New Zealand and came back and built these big, strong buildings. They saved our lives. If it were not for those who went to New Zealand and built these big buildings I can say there many people would have died because we would have been running from house to house and we would have been killed by the flying debris. But these big buildings that we have saved the lives of everyone on Lamen Island."

Food security remains a concern in Vanuatu after Cyclone Pam

Food security remains a concern in Vanuatu after Cyclone Pam Photo: RNZI

US increases relief funds

The United States has released more funds to victims of Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu and Solomon Islands.

A statement by the US embassy in Papua New Guinea says the US has contributed 1,000,000 US dollars to the World Food Program to support the immediate food security needs of affected populations in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu over the coming three months.

This funding is in addition to a previously-donated 250,000 US dollars to the World Food Program for logistical support for humanitarian assistance in Vanuatu.

USAID's Office Foreign Disaster Assistance dispatched a disaster relief team to Port Vila in the wake of Cyclone Pam.

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