Vanuatu PM tells the people aid is coming
Vanuatu PM visits hard hit islands to promise that cyclone relief aid is on the way.
The Prime Minister of Vanuatu is promising to deliver much-needed aid to the Shepherd Islands, which he says has suffered some of the worst damage in the wake of Cyclone Pam.
Joe Natuman spent yesterday visiting the islands by helicopter, and surveying the damage.
Mr Natuman says the government will work alongside the people there to repair the damage and will provide vital food and medical supplies.
He spoke with our reporter Koroi Hawkins when he arrived in Nalema village on south Epi in the Shepherds group.
JOE NATUMAN: Yes I have decided to visit the most affected islands. This was a category five storm which hit the whole country but this part of the archipelago is the hardest hit, particularly the Shepherd Islands, south Epi were we are now, and Tongoa and of course Efate. So I just wanted to vist these islands. Very little islands, mostly people existing on subsistence farming but very much affected by the cyclone. Just to assure people that the government is with them and will provide the necessary relief - particularly food, water, shelter, medicine and other necessities. And that the schools and the health centres we will rebuild so people can start all over again and rebuild their own lives.
KOROI HAWKINS: From what you have seen flying around today [Monday] - any reflections on what you have seen?
JN: Oh it is very much a calamity. Over the whole area which I visited, one village probably only one house remaining or two where people sought shelter during that cyclone, and the village was destroyed. Luckily there were probably two or three houses in a village still standing and people seek shelter there or in the church or in the school buildings. So the whole village has been destroyed and people's livelihoods, the crops in their gardens also destroyed and even agricultural production like coconut plantations have been destroyed. So I just want to assure people that the government will work with them, with development partners and other NGOs, companies like Dragonfly [shipping provider] who have been here to assist and deliver supplies to the islands, so I wish to thank all the development partners and other NGOs in assisting us in these trying times.
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