Type of response:
In March 2015 Cyclone Pam struck the Pacific island of Vanuatu and caused widespread damage across all five provinces – Shefa, Tafea, Malampa, Penama and Torba – of the country. Winds ranging as fast as 320 kilometres an hour were recorded in the capital Port Vila. More than 180,000 people in total were affected by the effects of the extreme weather.
Initial assessments showed massive damage to crops, livestock and fishing reserves – which together form the main sources of livelihood for the majority of Vanuatu citizens. Food stocks were either washed or blown away and no reserves were left to cover the immediate food needs of the population. Failure to provide short-term humanitarian assistance would not only leave the population in acute need – it would also have disrupted the planting season, leading to further food shortages in the medium-term.
Cyclone Pam also caused significant damage to buildings across the island – more than 75,000 people were in direct need of emergency shelter after their houses were destroyed or damaged in the immediate aftermath of the cyclone.
The Dutch Relief Alliance (DRA launched the Acute Crisis Mechanism (ACM) for the first time in its history to respond to the devastating effects of Cyclone Pam on Vanuatu. Based on the clear need for international assistance (the President of Vanuatu declared a state of emergency almost immediately after the Cyclone hit the country, requesting international assistance) and the presence of DRA members able to productively respond to this request, and the fact that more than half the country’s population was affected by the cyclone, the decision was made to develop a Joint Response.
The humanitarian action supported more than 3,200 households with emergency food supplies and nearly 3,000 households provided with emergency shelters. In addition, more than 18,600 schoolchildren were provided with ongoing food supplies.