Vanuatu and Solomon Islands Still In Need Of International Aid After Cyclone PAM

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Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, the two main victims of Cyclone PAM, have raised concerns that the international aid given to them is running low.

It has been almost two months after PAM swept through in March this year, in the Pacific, claiming 11 lives in Vanuatu with more than 160,000 people displaced and causing destructions to 96% of the food crops.

Currently, Vanuatu’s National Disaster Management head of operations, Pete Korisa told Pacific Beat that VNDM is still working on delivering emergency food relief to the people.

“We are trying to use whatever resources we have at the moment, due to the international organisations that have scaled down on their response,” Mr Korisa said.

Korisa added that the international donors that were previously supplying aid are now focused on the recent catastrophic Nepalese earthquake which killed more than 7,000 people.

According to Korisa, the reconstruction phase will be the hardest as they still have not rebuilt the many schools and hospitals, including hundreds of homes.

“We will still need the international assistance in terms of helping communities,” Karisa added.

Solomon Islands on the other hand have a difficult time assessing the damages. According to Kent State University anthropology professor, Rick Feinberg, the remote islands are in dire need of a well-established communication mode for the efficiency of the flow of relief supplies.

Islands such as Taumako, Tikopia and Anuta to the eastern province of Temotu are to a great degree distantly on their own. Without a radio, the only form of communication between Anuta and the capita Honiara, is through person to person; and even though it has been difficult, aid has been able to reach Anuta through donations from private citizens with connections to the island.

“I think that there’s generally some recognition and appreciation of the efforts of the disaster management office, but that office is understaffed and overworked. They don’t have the resources they really need, so there’s a limit to what they can do.” commented Feinberg.

Feinberg added that:

“We will ask people to write cheques to one or the other of these individuals, and then with the eyes of the Anuta Students’ Association on them they will cash the cheques and use the funds to purchase and deliver relief supplies to Anuta. But it’s a very complicated process.” 

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