A series of PHAST workshops are being facilitated by Red Cross to encourage improved hygiene behaviours, prevent diarrheal and other waterborne diseases and ultimately improve community management of water and sanitation facilities in cyclone-affected communities.
On March 13th, 2015, approximately 66,000 people across Vanuatu, were left homeless when Cyclone Pam, a category 5 tropical storm, tore through the country.
When the cyclone struck, Luis Lomai was in her family home in Lamanian village in West Tanna, together with her husband, seven children and two grandchildren. They were soon forced to move elsewhere after the walls and roof of the house collapsed around them. Together the family dodged flying debris as they sought refuge in neighboring homes. They were forced to continue their flight three times after the winds tore apart each place where they sheltered.
Miraculously the family escaped the cyclone unscathed, but Luis and her family were left feeling defeated after seeing the damage the cyclone had caused to their home and garden.
Vanuatu Red Cross recently joined organisations such as UN Women, Department of Womens Affairs and the Ministry of Justice and Community services in honouring the UN’s global 16 Days of Activism campaign.
The campaign kicked off with a parade through the streets of Port Vila, followed by a range of activities organised by various organisations to promote their chosen ‘International Day’ of focus. This year Vanuatu Red Cross took the lead on White Ribbon Day/‘The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women’ activities. Their Australian Red Cross supported campaign focused primarily on the issue of sexual and gender-based violence during disaster.
Vanuatu Red Cross is sending locally sourced and life-saving relief supplies to islands across Vanuatu to help communities best prepare for the cyclone season.
Relief goods such as containers to collect clean water, pots and pans for cooking and tarpaulins for shelter are being positioned in key communities across all six provinces of the country. “The relief supplies will enable the most vulnerable people to get the support they need as quickly as possible when disaster strikes,” said Vanuatu Red Cross CEO, Jacqueline De Gaillande.
Vanuatu Red Cross Society in collaboration with the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-hazards Department co-hosted a four-day climate workshop from November 11th-13th in Isangel (Tanna) aimed at increasing community awareness and understanding about the current El Niño weather event.
Many communities on Tanna Island face serious food and water shortages as a result of the current El Niño-related drought and lasting damage from Tropical Cyclone Pam. The current El Niño event is one of the strongest global weather patterns on record and has resulted in drier-than-average conditions not only in Tanna, but Vanuatu-wide. Many of these drought-affected communities are still recovering after being severely impacted by Tropical Cyclone Pam.
This week, a team of Vanuatu Red Cross trainers and volunteers commenced the facilitation of a series of ‘Safe Shelter Awareness’ workshops aimed at assisting 900 households in communities across West Tanna to rebuild their homes in a way that they will better resist future natural disasters such as cyclones and earthquakes.