Vanuatu receives assistance from Commonwealth countries

Jade Fell


© UNICEF Pacific / CC 2.0

A UK plane carrying emergency aid supplies has landed in Vanuatu.

The tiny Pacific Island nation was left devastated by tropical storm Cyclone Pam, which tore through the South Pacific on 13 March leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.

In the early hours of 19 March a Royal Air Force plane stocked with emergency shelter kits and solar lanterns successfully landed in Vanuatu.

“As a Commonwealth country it is right that we work with agencies on the ground to help people affected by Cyclone Pam rebuild their lives,” International Development Secretary Justine Greening said. “These supplies will help protect some of the most vulnerable people affected by the cyclone, especially women and children.”

In total 1,640 shelter kits, which can house families of five people, and more than 1,900 solar lanterns with inbuilt mobile phone chargers were supplied.

The Pacific Commonwealth has also been in relief operations on Vanuatu. Australia and New Zealand have been flying military planes full of supplies onto the islands since news of the storm hit. Australia has also deployed an Urban Search and Rescue, which is engaged in the clean-up and repair the Port Vila Hospital Complex, and a Medical Assistance Team who are also currently based in Port Vila.

International aid began flowing into the country after President Baldwin Lonsdale called for international assistance last week. He called the storm a “monster” and said that the small island will have to start anew, after up to 90 per cent of the buildings in the capital were damaged and destroyed. Thousands of people have been left homeless and without access to power.

“Britain stands ready to assist further to ensure supplies get to those in need and will continue to support the Government of Vanuatu as part of the wider Commonwealth effort,” Greening said.

About the author:

Jade Fell is a staff writer at Global - The International Briefing


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