19 Mar 2004

First phase of Vanuatu cyclone relief complete

2:10 pm on 19 March 2004

The head of the Vanuatu Red Cross says phase one of the relief effort is now over following last month's devastation by Cyclone Ivy.

David Neal says the distribution of immediate relief supplies to worst affected regions has now finished.

Mr Neal says nearly 3,000 family disaster packs containing building supplies have been sent out as well as around 800 tools.

He says food support, seeds, water tablets and containers have also been sent to 18 boarding schools this week.

Mr Neal says the supplies should last until the students are sent home in May.

He says the next phase in the relief programme will start soon.

"I think everybody is just taking a bit of a breather at the moment but the second phase which will start soon is when, I think, there is going to be quite a bit of food shortage, quite a bit of hardship on some of the islands. That's an issue that the Vanuatu government will be picking up in providing rice, in particular I understand getting bulk rice from overseas."

David Neal says phase 3 will involve the reconstruction of buildings.