Cyclone Pam rampaged across the 80 islands of the Pacific nation of Vanuatu on 13 March 2015. Out of a population of 267,000 people, 188,000 were affected, with 110,000 people in need of drinking water, and many left homeless or with damaged homes. Crop land was damaged or destroyed.
We joined with ACT Alliance members working in Vanuatu as part of a co-ordinated response. Members were given responsibility for different sections of the country; we were allocated the northern islands, where we have been supporting long-term development work with our partner, the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM).
This was the first time Anglican Overseas Aid has been an implementing partner in an ACT Alliance emergency response. We submitted a proposal to ACT Alliance to work with ACOM in partnership with ABM (who have observer status with ACT Alliance) – a fantastic example of Anglican agencies working together.
In the remote islands of northern Vanuatu, water sources, water systems, food crops and agricultural land were damaged, and many people lost their stored food. People there are subsistence farmers, and were already paying large prices for supplementary food to be shipped in. It is essential to rebuild their capacity to grow their own food. Our proposal was for $60,000 to help communities in these islands replant crops. ACT Alliance has fully funded this proposal, and the work on long-term agricultural recovery is ongoing.
We also raised more than $90,000 for our Cyclone Pam Response Appeal to add to the ACT Alliance project. This funding was used by ACOM for immediate emergency response after the cyclone, and is continuing to support ACOM’s response to affected communities.
As part of the longer-term recovery efforts, ACOM will work with communities to help them prepare for future disasters (including floods and cyclones), which is essential as a changing climate creates more volatile weather patterns in the Pacific. This work includes assessing their vulnerability and determining, as a community, how they can limit the damage from a natural disaster, minimise the risk to their community and respond quickly and effectively to future disasters.