Cyclone-felled trees used to build homes in Vanuatu
Trees blown over by cyclone Pam on Tanna island in Vanuatu are being milled for building material with the off cuts used to make furniture and kids toys.
Trees blown over by cyclone Pam on Tanna island in Vanuatu are being milled for building material with smaller pieces used to make furniture and off cuts for kids chairs and building blocks in kindergartens.
The initiative is part of the UNDP's Waste Management and Livelihood recovery project in partnership with the NGO, Camp Shining Light who are working to train locals in the operation of two portable saw mills being used on the island.
UNDP project analyst Donald Wouloseje (Wooh-Loo- Seh-Jeh) spoke with Koroi Hawkins about the initiative.
DONALD WOULOSEJE: It is actually like salvaging of all the fallen trees which have been blown down during the TC Pam, then we try and actually make use of those fallen trees to turn them into timber that can be actually used to reconstruct the buildings.
KOROI HAWKINS: And your getting timber for houses is an obvious one but there is also other products from wood that are being created?
DW: Yes, out of the normal milling of timber that is coming out from all of these fallen logs, the residues that are left over these are also turned into useful furnitures you know like the bench, kitchen benches which can be used in the kitchen and stools or childrens playground which most of these can be turned into you know like helping to rebuild some of the community halls or mainly cooking facilities and chairs and all this which can be used in the normal domestic use.
KH: And you say milling, I am assuming most of these mills have to be flown in, how big are these mills and who operates them?
DW: Well these are actually mobile saw mills which can be moved easily as you understand in Vanuatu the rough terrain that we have here normally access to all of the trees in the bush is quite a challenge. But the only option that we go for is use these mobile saw mills where you can actually move them from one spot to another to where the fallen trees are and set it up there. And for this project we have two one bigger one, these are warring saw mills we actually set up in a central base and we have another one which is more mobile which you can actually move it anywhere to find locations where the fallen trees are and with a few couple of chainsaws that we have the boys can actually just move the trees from there and those the bigger mill is actually set up in a central location where we move the logs over.
KH: And are you thinking of moving it across to other islands obviously 22 islands were affected across the country I am sure some other islands could benefit from such a project.
DW: Yes currently the focus is mainly on the most affected and devastated islands which are affected during the TC Pam and that is the southern islands which is Tanna is part of that and based on the limited constraint of funds, but if there is possibility maybe we might move one of the mills to the Shepherds Islands but at this stage we are not yet given any greenlights where we can actually move yet so we will focus in Tanna for the next three months so we are starting off the second phase by next month November to maybe early March. And this is something that is will actually be of beneficial actually to the communities in the islands and normally during such period of time we do slash and burn all the trees are all burn't but now everybody can be more conscious about the environment. And also in such situations mostly we can take something that has already been damaged and turn it into something more useful and that is the most important thing that we would like to draw lessons from the local communities especially in the rural areas.
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