25 Mar 2015

Navy ship joins Vanuatu relief efforts

9:10 pm on 25 March 2015

HMNZS Canterbury has arrived in the Vanuatu capital Port Vila, carrying supplies and people to help with Cyclone Pam relief efforts.

Goods being loaded onto the HMNZS Canterbury before it left for Port Vila.

Goods being loaded onto the HMNZS Canterbury before it left for Port Vila. Photo: NZ Defence Force

The navy ship is carrying food, water, emergency supplies and a team of engineering and environmental people.

The commander of the New Zealand task force in Vanuatu, Colonel Glen King, said about 25 members of the New Zealand Defence Force were on the ground there already and he was delighted the ship had now arrived with another 250 staff.

Fourteen urban search and rescue personnel are also expected to arrive in Vanuatu this evening to join up with HMNZS Canterbury.

The New Zealand Fire Service said 10 people from the team would operate from HMNZS Canterbury and focus on providing Epi Island's 5000 residents with 20,000 litres of drinking water a day.

The other four will provide logistical support to New Zealand's medical team.

HMNZS Canterbury

HMNZS Canterbury Photo: NZDF

HMNZS Canterbury is carrying over 60 crew, nearly 12 tonnes of medical supplies and equipment for producing drinking water.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said relief efforts would be focussing on Vanuatu's Shefa Province, rather than the hard-hit southern islands of Tanna and Erramango.

Children in danger

One of the areas badly hit by Cyclone Pam was Mataso on the Shepherd Islands.

UNICEF says children, especially in the hardest-to-reach islands in Vanuatu, are in serious danger as access to safe water remains critical, and there is significant risk of disease due to flooding and lack of medical care.

The aid agency says two thirds of children in Vanuatu have been affected by Cyclone Pam and require immediate help.

Children on Makira island

Children on Makira Island Photo: NZ / Koroi Hawkins

UNICEF spokesperson Alice Clements said UNICEF was on track to immunise 10,000 children against measles, provide Vitamin A supplements and de-worming tablets.

But she said more aid was needed to provide support to newborn babies and pregnant women, to get children back into school and ensure clean water and sanitation.

Cyclone damage on Tongoa Vanuatu

Cyclone damage on Tongoa Vanuatu Photo: AFP

Food aid gets to Vanuatu victims of Cyclone Pam

Food aid gets to Vanuatu victims of Cyclone Pam Photo: AFP

no caption

Destruction on the Shepherd Islands Photo: RNZ / Koroi Hawkins

Family in Nikinini community (mother Josephine, and children Angelica (12), Jacquie (9), Jessica (1) and Bojel (8). They have lost everything beacuse of Super Cyclone Pam. The cyclone has affected 60,000 children

This family lost everything after Cyclone Pam. Photo: SUPPLIED / Unicef