Ni-Vanuatu face great uncertainty after Pam
As Vanuatu begins to slowly ascertain the extent of the damage around its islands from Cyclone Pam, people are faced with great uncertainty over their future, especially the question of where they will live.
The deputy principal of a Port Vila school that is being used as an evacuation centre sheltering over 500 people says it's not clear how long they can stay there.
Sikal Iuarel of Fresh Wota School says there are enough supplies for residents living at the school, but more clean drinking water will be needed soon.
Mr Iuarel told Koroi Hawkins he's not sure how long the school can be used as an evacuation centre, and frustration is growing among the evacuees about their uncertainty.
SIKAL IUAREL: I live around the area of Fresh Wota about 300 metres from the school. My roof was blown off, totally blown off. My kids were here during the cyclone. I was at home to look after our belongings but our roof was blown off so now I am residing in the school until the roof has been repaired.
KOROI HAWKINS: How many people are here at the Fresh Wota school?
SI: Just after the cyclone or during the cyclone and the day after the cyclone there were around 700 people and then some of them went back. They realised their houses just need a little maintenance and they fixed it and they stayed at home. At present we have about 500 to 600 people still around waiting for their homes to be rebuilt.
KH: The National Disaster Management Office says it's still doing assessments and it's holding on to supplies until it knows exactly what the extent of the problem is. Are there immediate needs for people in centres that are being addressed or not being addressed?
SI: The NDMO has issued some basic necessities like water and breakfast crackers and biscuits for residents who are living currently at the Fresh Wota school. Unfortunately it is not so much to cover everybody around but at least they have provided. Yesterday we have had Save The Children. They came over and collected some of the data to analyse. They left us a bag of rice and some tins and we are arranging ourselves this afternoon. It's basically for the kids. So far we have had the NDMO coming over and Save The Children.
KH: For people here in the centre you said they're waiting while they rebuild. The mothers and the children are here while the fathers are rebuilding?
SI: Yes. The fathers are rebuilding. The mothers are here. Especially the fathers are going back home to rebuild but again some of these sheets of iron and all that was totally ripped off so again that's money and that is another big problem.
KH: You can't rebuild if there is nothing left eh?
KH: For the children, is there enough bathroom facilities, there's enough for everyone here?
SI: I believe there is enough because in the school we have a total of 1,600 students and if we can cater for that number then we can cater for this.
KH: What are some issues that you think are important or you might feel that need to be addressed or get help with?
SI: Currently the water is the most important need at the moment because the water we have in the catchment and water supplies have been contaminated that's for sure. We just need bottled water to reduce the infections that we might have in the water. That would cause another problem.
KH: So you have running water to wash but you need drinking water?
SI: Yeah, drinking water.
KH: How long has the school allowed for everyone here? You have a time limit or you're allowed to stay until everything is sorted?
SI: We've heard from some organisations that the school will be closed for two weeks but the thing is the Minister of Education has not come out publicly to address the issue yet. Maybe they will be discussing. Probably when he comes over this afternoon he will let us know what the outcome of the meeting was but people are expected to be around the school compound for around two weeks.
KH: Do you have power here?
SI: No. Not at the moment.
KH: I just heard on the bus they were discussing some of the schools having concerns with theft and damages because of the power outages. Is that an issue here?
SI: Not a big issue. Most of the schools addressing that issue are schools that have been damaged. In here the school buildings are okay and the community here, they look after the school.
KH: So because it's damaged they just feel that oh it's damaged so...
SI: They can take the opportunity to get...
KH: Any final thing?
SI: The people who are here just want to know if the government could give some answers to them quickly because they are living in an institution that school will resume in time and they just wish, like I said, that they are rebuilding. Depends also in the financial side. If the government can come out publicly and tell them 'yeah you come back home and we will provide you tents and tarpaulins so you can stay there temporarily while you rebuild'. That is our main concern now and one big question. So authorities concerned could give the indications.
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