French Red Cross

Provincial Simulation Exercise in Torba

Workshop Participants and Facilitators

Workshop Participants and Facilitators

From 11th to 14th of October in Sola, the Vanuatu Red Cross Society (VRCS)/French Red Cross (FRC) organized a Provincial Disaster Simulation Exercise (SIMEX). This activity was organized in the frame of a disaster risk reduction project funded by the European Union and implemented by the VRCS/FRC in partnership with 25 communities of Torba Province.

Working Group Brainstorming during simulation exercise

Working Group Brainstorming during simulation exercise

The SIMEX was designed to gather last feedbacks from and to get consensus within the Provincial Disaster Committee (PDC) and Area Council Secretaries (ACS) to finalize the Provincial Disaster Plan (PDP) for Torba Province, as well as to test the procedures developed in the plan. PDC coordination role in particular was tested for Provincial Emergency Operations (PEOC) set up, early warning dissemination, compilation of results from community first damage assessment forms, organization of technical assessments, and definition of response options. The Standard Operations Procedures guiding these actions are described in the plan and will help the Provincial Government and communities of Torba Province - composed of numerous scattered islands where some of the remotest communities in Vanuatu live - to be better prepared in case of natural disaster and to organize an efficient response.

In real action conditions, participants had to deal with a Category 3 Tropical Cyclone threatening whole Torba Province. Injects were timely released by facilitators according to the scenario chosen. They included text messages and emails from the National Disaster Management Office and the Vanuatu Meteorological and Geo-hazards Department, phone and radio calls from ACS, letters from partners, etc. The SIMEX was closed by the organization of a fake TV interview on Voice Blong Torba Show (see picture). Besides, upon PDC members’ request, two (2) sessions were offered by the VMGDon El Niño /La Niña phenomena and conducted by a VMGD staff stationned in Sola for a few months. Finally, The SIMEX was also an opportunity to train participants on the Community First Assessment Form newly released by the NDMO, and to celebrate International Disaster Day on October 13th.

This Provincial Simulation Exercise is the first of its kind to be ever conducted in Vanuatu, along with the one conducted in Tafea Province at the very same time. The methodology was developed in the frame of the YUMI REDI Consortium, with the support of Oxfam. This SIMEX is also the result of months of collective efforts from the NDMO, the Red Cross, PDC members and ACS. More than 20 PDC members (representing most of the provincial department) and 3 ACS for Torba Province came over to participate in the four-day training and SIMEX along with NDMO representatives and the Secretary General for Torba Province Mrs. Ketty Napwatt. “I am glad we will finally have our Provincial Disaster Plan in Torba Province; this is a true achievement for everyone and a guideline we can refer to. Besides, a simulation exercise is a good way to identify gaps.” – said Judah Silas, Chief of Police, PDC Chairman playing Operations Manager during the SIMEX and PDC member.

Exercise on Risk Maps

Exercise on Risk Maps

VRCS/FRC and NDMO facilitators were impressed by PDC members’ reactivity and involvement, which is the result of a fruitful 6-year partnership between the Red Cross, the NDMO, Torba Provincial Government and communities. Another result is the development and appropriation of tools by PDC members. Indeed, the tools developed throughout the project (e.g. Risk Maps of all islands of Torba Province) were presented to and used by participants during exercises. At the end of the week, they were donated to Torba Provincial Government to be used at the new NDMO Office opening in November. Material was also donated to ACS for them to use it in their respective offices on the islands. After the tremendous work carried out together and with these new tools, partners trust Torba Province is equipped to cope rapidly and effectively with future disasters.

The last steps before ending this long partnership with Torba Province comprise the signature of the PDRP by the NDMO, Torba Province and the VMGD, as well as a Lessons Learned Workshop to officially hand over the final PDRP and to deliver the NDMO Community-Based Disaster Risk Reduction Handbook (that will be launched in November 2016). If this workshop will officially be the final point for Together Becoming Resilient program, Torba Province will still need continuous support due to its high vulnerability to disasters.

This article covers humanitarian aid activities implemented with the financial assistance of the European Union. The views expressed herein should not be taken, in any way, to reflect the official opinion of the European Union, and the European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

 

 

THE RED CROSS DONATES BOATS IN TORBA

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   Signature of MoU in Mataka (Gaua Island, Banks Islands, Torba Province) with representatives of Health Center and the Red Cross

Signature of MoU in Mataka (Gaua Island, Banks Islands, Torba Province) with representatives of Health Center and the Red Cross

The Vanuatu Red Cross Society (VRCS), supported by the French Red Cross (FRC), donated two boats to health centers and one to Torba Province in 2015/2016.

In December last year, the Red Cross (RC) donated two boats along with equipment to Loh (Torres Islands) and to Mataka (Gaua Island, Banks Islands) Health Centers. In February this year, a third boat was donated to Torba Province in Sola (Vanualava, Banks Islands). “The RC activities in Torba tend to decrease with only one project left at the end of December this year. However, we want these boats to continue benefitting the extremely remote populations of Torres and Banks Islands, most of them we have been working with for 6 years. This is the reason why we donated them to these actors.” - explains Julien Lamberti, former RC Head of Project for the Disaster Risk Reduction project “Together Becoming Resilient” currently being implemented in the region.

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   Boat Donation to Loh Health Centre (Torres Islands, Torba Province) with representatives of the Health Center and of the Red Cross

Boat Donation to Loh Health Centre (Torres Islands, Torba Province) with representatives of the Health Center and of the Red Cross

In order to formalize the donations, tripartite Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) were signed between beneficiary Health Centers (Torba Province for the third boat), the Health Department of Torba Province and the VRCS. From the signature of the agreements onwards, the Health Centers and Torba Province have been authorized to use the boats as they will. Nonetheless and until the end of the RC project, the boats will remain available to the Red Cross and its staff if when needed. “The 3 boats will be used to take care of approximately 3,000 people, in areas where it can take up to two days of walk to reach the communities. The two firsts will give the inhabitants access to minimum health care, and the third one will be available for assessments and distributions in case of disaster. The Province has always been a major Red Cross partner for disaster risk reduction.” - Julien concludes.

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BENEFICIARY STORY: CDC MEMBERS RECOGNIZED FOR THEIR WORK: DISTRIBUTION OF SOLAR LAMP

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.”

Red Cross celebrates World Water Day 2016

Red Cross celebrates World Water Day 2016

o celebrate and commemorate World Water Day this year, Vanuatu Red Cross with the support of the IFRC, Australian Red Cross and French Red Cross organised an activity with Vila North Primary School children from five different classes. This year’s theme was “Water and Jobs”.

Helping Communities Recover

Helping Communities Recover

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.