Wed 10, May 2017
Tropical Cyclone Donna, which had been battering the islands of Vanuatu over the past week, has left a trail of damage in parts of the country. The Northern provinces have been most affected, in particular the Torba Province in the Anglican Diocese of Banks and Torres where many Anglicans live.
The cyclone, initially classified as a category 4 with winds of between 170 and 240 kilometres per hour, has now been downgraded and is slowly moving south. Its strong winds ravaged Vanuatu and affected other provinces, including the island of Espiritu Santo. Tropical Cyclone Donna was also unusual for the month of May as the Pacific cyclone season officially ended on April 30.
ABM is in touch with the Anglican Church of Melanesia – Vanuatu’s (ACOMV) Disaster Risk Management Coordinator Mr Fisher Young Dinh, for reports on the extent of damage caused by the cyclone. He has reported that there has been significant damage to houses and gardens, with only enough food supplies to last up to two or three weeks in some communities. Water supplies have been contaminated and toilet facilities destroyed on some of the islands.
ACOMV, in collaboration with Torba Provincial authorities, have been assessing communities on the four islands of Loh, Hiu, Tegua and Toga but have yet to make contact with Ureparapara, Mota and Motalava Islands. Mere Lava, Gaua and Vanua Lava islands have suffered damage to gardens and the roof of All Saint’s Church on Vanua Lava was blown off.
ABM has launched an emergency appeal and seeks to raise $20,000 to assist ACOMV in the relief and recovery effort in the Torba Province. Funds will go towards food, shelter and clean water, plus sanitation and hygiene needs for those affected by Tropical Cyclone Donna. Fuel may also be needed for the Southern Cross, ACOM's boat, to transport relief aid.
More updates will be posted as they come to hand. Please keep the people of Vanuatu in your prayers.
EXTERNAL NEWS REPORTS
ABC: Authorities assess Cyclone Donna damage in Vanuatu http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-10/authorities-assess-cyclone-donna-damage-in-vanuatu/8512878
Reuters: New Caledonians take shelter as Cyclone Donna bears down http://www.reuters.com/article/us-pacific-cyclone-new-caledonia-idUSKBN1840HX
8 June, 2017 - Emergency Relief Supplies have now been delivered to the affected areas. Read more.
16 May, 2017 - ABM has just received a report from the Anglican Church of Melanesia Vanuatu's (ACOMV) Deputy General Secretary, Mr Joses Togase, with an update on the emergency relief response. Read more.
12 May, 2017 - An update has just been received from Fisher Young Dinh, ACOMV’s Disaster Risk Management Coordinator:
Mr Dinh has reported that food donations are being prepared in advance for affected communities in Torres. Local food such as precooked cassava, pictured, and meat have been chosen for a variety of health and sustainability reasons. 173 households in Torres will receive a 30-day ration of 15 kgs of precooked and packaged cassava and 3 kgs of meat per person.
The National Disaster Management Office’s coordinated team on the ground will store these donations while communities use their remaining local preserved food over the next few weeks, after which distribution will take place.
(Please don’t forget to write down the Code VU008EX and/or the campaign name Vanuatu Cyclone Emergency Appeal and include it with your donation.)
Gifts to ABM will be applied to the support of project(s) selected. In the unlikely event of the project being oversubscribed or not proceeding to completion, donations will be applied to a similar project to the one(s) selected.