Struggle goes on in Vanuatu a month after Pam
One month since cyclone Pam and disaster authorities in Vanuatu are still struggling to deal with first response measures as food from the first round of relief aid runs out.
One month since Cyclone Pam, disaster authorities in Vanuatu are still struggling to deal with first response measures as food from the first round of relief aid runs out.
The United Nations is calling for the international community to maintain its commitment to the country's relief effort saying victims will require support for several more months.
Koroi Hawkins has more.
Much has been said about the challenges facing disaster relief efforts in Vanuatu's far flung islands but as the weeks turn into months even communities closer to the capital Port Vila are feeling the pinch of a looming food crisis.
Chief Kalokai Masai of Mele Village has around 4000 people in his community. He says it has been three weeks since the National Disaster Management Office delivered food supplies and people are again in desperate need of food.
All this was already used up. You know there is nothing to eat after the cyclone so people make use of the rice. Cooking for the kids and for the families. So people are starting, going back to their gardens now and try to replant, try to harvest what they have, that's all.
The Director of Vanuatu's National Disaster Management Office, Shadrack Welegtabit, says he is well aware people still need support with food and water and says even shelter continues to be a priority throughout the 22 islands affected by Pam.
He says his office is in the process of planning for the second phase of relief aid distribution but he is also expecting the outcome of a new damage assessment report conducted over the past two weeks.
Well what we are seeing is some areas that need to be prioritised and we are thinking along the line of education, health and maybe water. So depending on the asseSsment that is done in the field we ARE just waiting to see the recommendations from the report that will be available later, around mid week.
The UNDP's Osnat Lubrani says she expects the report will show the need for continued support for affected communities..
She says with an estimated 70 percent of Vanuatu's population affected and the considerable logistical challenges the relief work is progressing as well as can be expected.
A lot of good things also to be said about the preparedness and the resilience of the people. I have visited some of these places and you see people they are not waiting, the communities are picking up. They are rebuilding things wherever the materials still exist. They are putting together their lives. But they do need our support, they really do. And that's why I am calling for continued attention and vigilance.
Chiefs like Kalokai Masai are worried that longer term rehabilitation like the reconstruction of two French and English schools in Mele village each with around 400 students may fall through the gaps.
So we need to rebuild now but so far we have some assurance from the Ministry of Education from the government but as you know it is about a month yesterday, we haven't received anything. We have received so far some tents from the UNICEF as classrooms so far but you know there is rain coming in at the moment and it is not safe at the moment. But so far we still need help to rebuild back all these classrooms.
The full damage assessment is expected to show a need for support beyond the current three month estimates.
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