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Vanuatu: Cyclone Pam Relief Report

By World Cruising Club — last modified Apr 29, 2016 11:12 AM
On 13 March 2015 a devastating cyclone struck Vanuatu, causing significant damage to homes, businesses and communities throughout the islands. Winds of up to 270km/h (170mph) and torrential rain left a trail of destruction across Vanuatu, and caused immense suffering to the people who live in this beautiful part of the Pacific.

Published: 2016-04-28 23:00:00
Topics: Cruising Information
Countries: Vanuatu

Vanuatu: Cyclone Pam Relief Report

Martin & Elizabeth Bevan on Caduceus unloading supplies

Below is a brief summary of the amazing response to the disaster, showing the depth and breadth of the response from so many organisations and individuals.

World Cruising Club

At World Cruising Club, following the news of the cyclone, and a plea for help from one of the marine businesses in Port Vila badly affected by the cyclone, an appeal fund was launched aimed at raising funds, principally from previous World ARC participants who had visited the islands, to specifically aid marine businesses, to help them rebuild any damage and re-open in time for the new season.

Seeded with US$10,000 from World Cruising Club, immediate aid of $5000 was sent to help fifty employees of the marine services company Yachting World Vanuatu, with $100 per family to help them buy basic essentials and repair their own homes, so they were then able to focus on getting the business operating again.

The generosity from previous participants, including those who had never been to Vanuatu, helped raise a total close to $50,000 which was distributed to directly help those affected in Port Vila and Port Resolution.

Boat Aid

With relief aid initially reaching the main population areas, it was important for supplies to also reach the outlying remoter islands. Many yachts took part in this relief operation including ones that sailed from Fiji, and Australia.

Tom Partridge & Susie Plume arrived back in Vanuatu shortly after the passage of Cyclone Pam to relaunch their yacht Adina, thankfully undamaged by the storm, and lead some of this relief effort. They were one of a group of yachts later presented with the OCC Award of Merit in 2015, for their work in Vanuatu, together with three other World ARC yachts taking a break in the western Pacific: Martin & Elizabeth Bevan on Caduceus; Jonathan & Donna Robinson on Chez Nous; and Dennis & Sherry Day on Trillium. All remained in the area for longer than at first planned to work with the island communities offering different types of support, 
including distribution of medical aid.

Charles Livingston on his Amel 54 Cataya brought materials from Fiji, including supplies of hammers, nails and roofing materials, for Port Vila, whilst medical doctor Liz Bevan put her skills in good use amongst the remote communities, moving between islands on Caduceus

Charities

Many organisations became involved in co-ordinating the huge amount of volunteer help offered, including Medical Sailing Ministries, the Butterfly TrustYacht Aid Global, OceansWatch and Sea Mercy. All extremely effective maritime aid charities.

World ARC

Often voted the most popular stopover on the route of World ARC, Port Resolution on the island of Tanna was badly affected; buildings were lost, cash crops destroyed. Whilst several months passed before the arrival of the World ARC 2015/16 fleet, they did an amazing job at taking much needed supplies and goods to donate on their arrival at a traditional gift exchange ceremony.

This time that ceremony was more meaningful and poignant as the gifts borne from Fiji by sea on the yachts, then landed ashore by dinghies and local canoes, were very carefully considered and planned, being some four months after the tragedy struck. Crews also took the opportunity to turn their hands to practical tasks, although this was hampered by unseasonably wet weather during the visit.

On behalf of the people of Vanuatu World Cruising Club would like to thank all of those involved who helped directly, transported supplies or made donations and contributions to the aid work following Cyclone Pam.

It was a great team effort; thank you.

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