In the aftermath of cyclone PAM, the category-5 storm that hit Vanuatu on March 13th 2015, affected people were left without power and electricity. It left them with no access to light, a vector of security and comfort, especially in times of disasters. Families expressed their need during assessments and from there it became an important issue to be tackled.

Total’s donation of 2,000 solar lamps allowed the Vanuatu Red Cross Society (VRCS) and the French Red Cross (FRC) to develop a national distribution program to all cyclone-affected households, including the beneficiaries present in the VRCS/FRC projects areas of intervention.  Indeed, it was the case in Gaua Island (Torba Province), where Total’s solar lamps were distributed by the Community Disaster Committees in the frame of a Disaster Risk Reduction project jointly implemented by the VRCS and the FRC.

Community Disaster Committees are groups of volunteers, elected by their respective community members and trained by the Red Cross, in charge of implementing DRR activities (awareness sessions on disasters, passing the alert in case of disaster, etc.) in their communities to increase their resilience.

Distribution of relief items is one of the responsibilities of CDC members, especially after a disaster that has tremendously affected a community. CDCs need to make a distribution that is fair and transparent for everyone in the community and also to report in details to whomever is responsible for the relief to be distributed in the community.

The CDC members from Lemoga Community, located in the Eastern part of Gaua Island, participated in a 1-day  trainingon distributions. CDC members learned about disaster relief procedures, accountability and logistics of distribution, needs assessment process and report validation. A practical exercise was also performed by all trainees through the distribution of solar lamps donated by Total in the community. During that training session, CDC members also learned and practiced how to make a distribution in their own communities by distributing solar lamps to 24 households. A form was used by all CDC members during distribution in order to collect information on the number of people in each family receiving a solar lamp,  and on vulnerabilities such as disability and gender balance in the household. After completion of the distribution form, heads of household were to sign the distribution form before receiving their solar lamp.

Judah LERRY, a 39 years-old father from Lemoga village on Gaua Island, is one of the happiest father in the community who received a Total solar lamp from the CDC distribution training organized by the Vanuatu and French Red Cross in Lemoga Village. Judah is married to Ansen Roveper; she is 40 years-old. They have five (5) children; Rodney Trevor (22 years-old), Dina Julie (18 years-old), Elison Vogol (13 years-old) and Delison (11 years-old). Judah is a very happy father today after receiving the solar lamp from one of the CDC members.”Mi glad blong luk ol CDC blong mifala i mekem wok ia tete fulap man oli luk save wok blong olgeta tete ia nao”* - he says.

Judah stated that since he was born until today Wednesday 25th May 2016, it was the first time he and his family had a solar light like this one. He used to have one before but it was not a good model, it did not have a separate solar panel and the brightness was not good at all. This solar lamp will be used mainly for kitchen purposes during the evening to provide lighting for food preparation and family catering.

Judah wants to express his words of thanks to the members of his CDC, to the Vanuatu and French Red Cross, as well as Total who made the solar lamp distribution possible. He urges for and wants to see more of this kind of support from the Province to his community.

*”I am glad to see our CDC performing this kind of work here today. Lots of people can now understand what their work can be.”