District 9650 Rotarians work on a Vanuatu emergency housing project in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Pam.
District 9650 Rotarians work on a Vanuatu emergency housing project in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Pam.

District 9650 Rotarians assisting cyclone victims in Vanuatu

LOCAL Rotarians from District 9650 are part of the emergency response team assisting the people of Vanuata get back on their feet in wake of the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Pam.

Rotary's Shelterbox disaster program has been in action and team member, District Governor Greg Moran, said the first phase of the operation had provided shelterkits as well as blankets, water purification tablets, solar lights, mosquito nets and extra tools, tarps and other equipment.

Greg's team worked predominantly on the island of Tanna which had a population of 29,000.

After the cyclone, over 90% were left homeless or had significant damage to their homes.

There was massive destruction of the environment as well, with almost all leaves and small branches stripped from the trees.

Village gardens had mostly been destroyed, while schools and some hospital buildings also sustained a fair amount of damage.

"It was very heartening that although the Vanuatu people have endured massive destruction, they were still positive and resilient," Greg said.

"In the time we were there it was great to see the island's facilities improve greatly and life was becoming almost normal again.

"With the efforts of all the NGOs, the ADF, AUSAID, French Navy and others, Vanuatu is improving daily.

"But they still have a long way to go with power and water still to be connected, schools and hospitals repaired and general infrastructure improved as the emergency phase of the operation moves to recovery with longer term goals for building and sustainability."



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