Cyclone Pam caused extensive damage to the small island nation of Vanuatu (Photo: UNDP/Shoko Takemoto)

Flash Appeal Launched for Emergency Response to Tropical Cyclone Pam

The Vanuatu government, along with the UN and other development partners, launched a Flash Appeal today for financial aid to help people and communities devastated by Cyclone Pam. The appeal to the international community, launched in the capital Port Vila, calls for $29.9 million dollars to deal with the humanitarian crisis over the next three months.

More than two million dollars of that money will be used for a program focused on Early Recovery, which will be led by the United Nation Development Programme (UNDP). The Early Recovery programme will focus on debris clearance and restoration of livelihoods, which will provide employment to people and help rebuild communities, suffering from what is being described as one of the worst natural disasters in Vanuatu’s history.

UNDP provided USD 350,000 in emergency funding for early recovery efforts to island nations across the Pacific, shortly after Cyclone Pam’s widespread destruction. The cyclone caused extensive devastation in Vanuatu. It affected nearly half the country’s population, 166,000 people on 22 islands -- killing 11, and leaving about 75,000 people homeless.

Speaking at the launch of the appeal UNDP Resident Representative and UN Humanitarian Coordinator Osnat Lubrani, commended Vanuatu’s government for investing in disaster preparedness that helped save many lives.

“Although the people of Vanuatu have shown immense resilience and strength at this difficult time, further urgent assistance is required to ensure that Vanuatu can focus on recovering from this disaster – and that further, potentially life-threatening, impacts from disease, food insecurity and a lack of shelter can be avoided,” said Ms. Lubrani. She stressed that assistance provided now will “support the recovery of a small nation facing one its biggest challenges.”

The humanitarian response to the emergency, while focusing on lifesaving needs, also mitigates long term impacts on livelihoods, infrastructure and the economy. Early recovery is designed to prevent development setbacks like Cyclone Pam can cause, as well as to bolster resilience to future emergencies.

UNDP projects will focus initially on restoring community infrastructure, such as rainwater harvesting structures and roads, debris removal, restoration of natural resources, early warning systems, and cash-for-work initiatives.

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