On Friday, March 13,2015 tropical Cyclone ‘Pam’ struck Vanuatu, the Island nation of South Pacific, lying about 1,750 kilometres east of Brisbane, Australia and 500 kilometres west of Fiji. The storm wielding 250 kph (with gusts of up to 325 kph) rampaged through the nation leaving behind 8 dead 30 injured according to the country's National Disaster Management Office. The impact, according to the Aid agencies, was devastating that most homes belonging to some 260,000 inhabitants of the Island nation were damaged. Hardly a tree stood straight after the carnage, especially in its capital Port Villa.
Nation in need
The nation has officially declared a state of emergency and the President, Baldwin Lonsdale had appealed to the global community for assistance. Shelter, food and water are urgent priorities. But still it is extremely difficult finding communications into Vanuatu to understand the scale of destruction. From whatever information we gather, mainly through our Baptist brethren from Australia and New Zealand the impact on the islands is massive, and a major humanitarian assistance is needed to help the islanders back to recovery. Aid agencies informed that the storm was one of the worst disasters ever to hit the region.
Vanuatu is one of the poorest nations in the Pacific. The UN considers it as one of world's least developed nations with a GDP of $828m. About two-thirds of the people live in the remote Islands making a living from agriculture and fishing. There are limited access to clean drinking water, transport, phone and electricity.
Along with our Baptist brethren from Australia and New Zealand, we are considering how best we can involve with the affected people, as there is hardly any local Baptist church found in Vanuatu. TAI (Transform Aid International) and BANZAid (Baptist New Zealand Aid) have good channels working in the Island nation.
Cyclone hits Vanuatu Islands