Simple solutions promoted for rebuild in Vanuatu
Focus shifts in Vanuatu from emergency aid to a more permanent rebuild after Cyclone Pam devastated 22 islands in the archipelago.
The Red Cross says it is now working to help people in cyclone-devastated Vanuatu rebuild and repair their homes.
The agency says it has reached 12 thousand people in the nearly two weeks since the disaster..
A Red Cross spokesperson in Port Vila, Madeline Wilson, says the focus is shifting from providing immediate shelter to rebuilding permanent homes.
MADELINE WILSON: There is an enormous scale-up in emergency assistance that's happened, particularly in the last one and a half weeks, just in terms of getting support out to the areas that really need it most and we're talking in Vanuatu 22 islands affected. So you know the challenge of getting aid out to reach 22 islands means the agencies that are working here including Red Cross are hiring boats, planes, helicopters to get relief out as quickly as possible.
TODD NIALL: So the system and the logistics now seem to be running OK are they? And the quantity of aid that's getting out there?
MW: Yes certainly. From the perspective of Red Cross we're working in the areas of mainly providing shelter materials, essential household items and clean drinking water. We've reached over 12 thousand people so far across 15 islands and we've just had a major shipment come in on a charter flight from our warehouse in Kuala Lumpur yesterday that arrived with a whole lot of extra non food items including things like hygiene kits and kitchen sets. When we began distributions we really focused particularly on shelter, so tarpaulins and shelter repair kits and in many areas we also provided additional supplies depending on what the needs are but now we've got this second wave of supplies that have come into country we can now go back to areas where we were only able to provide shelter and provide these additional supplies.
TN: So presumably there's the big challenge ahead of more permanent homes and structures to live in and operate from.
MW: Yes absolutely so a tarpaulin is really only a temporary shelter solution but it's the best way to provide shelter cover immediately after an emergency and then, as you say, once you've covered a population in terms of that emergency support then it really is moving into that recovery phase of helping people rebuild their structures. And I've been out to a number of islands myself. People are beginning their own recovery. They're collecting the iron sheets that were blown off rooves and starting to do the repairs themselves. For us, the humanitarian community works through what we call a cluster system, so there's a shelter cluster that meets daily to talk about what is the next phase and in the coming days the government is going to be leading another major assessment to look at the recovery phase and to look at what the needs are across the affected areas and particularly shelter. The Vanuatu Red Cross will be working to support the rebuilding and repairing of homes. I've been talking to one of our shelter cluster members who was explaining some really simple building techniques, using cross-bracing and galvanised tie down struts just to help people build back the way they know how to build but just a few simple techniques to really help make sure the infrastructure is stronger.
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