Recovering from Cyclone Harold and Responding to COVID-19 in Vanuatu

Sep 6, 2023

Australian Government supports AID and ACOM to strengthen Vanuatu communities after Cyclone Harold and COVID-19

In early 2023, the last of ACOM Vanuatu’s water containers were awaiting distribution. They lay at the church office, alongside pipes and plastic water tanks. Many more water containers, pipes and water tanks had already been distributed to communities in Penama and Sanma provinces in Vanuatu’s north and east, along with cement and tap fittings.

ACOM, the Anglican Church of Melanesia, is AID’s partner in Vanuatu. The materials were funded by the Australian Government’s AHP (Australian Humanitarian Partnership), through two different programs: the COVID-19 Outbreak Response Program and the Cyclone Harold Recovery Program.

Through the Cyclone Harold Recovery Program, water tanks and model toilets were installed in public locations in four communities on Pentecost Island in 2022.  Water tanks and model toilets will be installed in four more communities (two on Ambae Island, one on Malekula Island and one on Santo Island) by the end of 2023. The program has also provided materials to some individual homes, those of people living with a disability, and has trained youths to build toilets for the people with disabilities. Some other community members were able to purchase their own materials and replicate the model toilets in their own homes.

The Cyclone Harold Recovery Program also included hygiene education, and ACOM was able to integrate COVID-19 messaging with this education.

As Fr Stanley Tabi observed in Enkul, the program, “Is really impacting people’s lives in a positive way. Many people are happy to have proper toilets and COVID-19 wash stations in their homes.”

As part of the COVID-19 Outbreak Response Program, which ended in May 2023, ACOM distributed water containers, soap, face masks and seeds to four schools and more than 140 vulnerable households. ACOM also provided awareness-raising about COVID-19 prevention and access to services to more than 1,400 people.

AID thanks the Australian Government’s Australian Humanitarian Program (AHP) for supporting these two programs in Vanuatu, and our Church Agencies Network Disaster Operations (CAN DO) consortium for facilitating communication and funding flows between the AHP program and AID.

AID also thanks our partner, ACOM Vanuatu, for their timely implementation of these two programs.

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