Aid flows into Tuvalu after Pam damage
Distribution of relief assistance and evacuation of those displaced in Tuvalu by a storm surge caused by Cyclone Pam.
Aid has been flowing into Tuvalu this week after the damage caused by a storm surge related to Cyclone Pam, but more is needed.
Officials in Tuvalu say current supplies are expected to last between one to two weeks.
Nearly half of the the country's population of approximately nine and a half thousand has been displaced by the flooding which washed away houses and crops.
Tuvalu's Disaster Coordinator, Suneo Silu, spoke to Indira Moala.
SUNEO SILU: So far we have managed to deliver immediate response to most of the islands which includes islands in the central and the southern islands.
INDIRA MOALA: What kind of assessment have you made of those outer islands? What's the damage been so far?
SS: The outer islands, we deliver basically the food supply. The worst island - that's Nui and then coming down to Vaitupu and Nukufetau. All islands were flooded. The three northern islands were badly affected by flooding and the central island as well. We have some data on the amount of people we have evacuated.
IM: And how many people have you evacuated so far?
SS: If I can collect it in my memory, it's around about 85 families we evacuated from Nukulaelae. Nanumaga - I guess the whole population of Nanumaga we evacuated.
IM: And how many were on that island?
SS: Yes, that's around about 400 plus were displaced. From Nui - the island went under the water in the storm surge and the graveyard was washed up. That's the priority island because we figure the water is contaminated on most of the island. So we need to deliver water as soon as possible. We are mindful that there will be an outbreak soon - some sanitary disaster. So the health team were there to advise the people to use boiled water. Not to use the contaminated water. Septic tanks were badly affected so there's a sense that a health outbreak will be expected soon. But for Niutau as well, we also have some families evacuated. The water was flooded. Likewise Nanumea. It's quite severely affected by this surge and swells.
IM: And they've all been evacuated to the main island?
SS: No, no. We moved them to high-rise buildings - especially primary school buildings. Because those are the most durable buildings - and that's accommodated most of them.
IM: When do you think the assessments of all the islands will be finished?
SS: We are trying to reach the outer islands, the outer community, not later than this week Friday.
IM: And after those relief supplies run out, you're expecting more relief assistance from international aid?
SS: Yes, and that's why we want our rapid assessment team to cover all the islands, then we can follow on from their reports.
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