Vanuatu Cyclone Relief Update: Emergency Food Will Be Eat Up by April

Two weeks have passed after Cyclone Pam devastated Vanuatu and emerging aerial images confirm total or near-total destruction of homes, buildings and crops. Almost 90 percent of the island has been flattened. As relief work progresses, the most urgent need is food supply. Vanuatu Minister of Agriculture, Honorary David Tosul estimates that local stores of emergency food will only last until the end of March.

CEDAR’s partner TEAR Fund New Zealand (TFNZ) and their local partner Nasi Tuan, are now working closely with the National Disaster Office and the Agricultural board in response to the needs of the affected and target to help up to 5,000 households on Tanna Island.

Some of the relief and recovery measures include:

  • Cleaning up of debris and rubble
  • Organise people to harvest the remaining Cassava and run workshops on how to preserve the crops
  • Provide seeds and tools for farmers and help them package and sell their produce
  • Provide new coffee plants for coffee farmers

Help now! Your support is crucial to the affected as they rebuild their lives!

(Please mark “Vanuatu Cyclone Relief”)

*Integral Alliance (IA) is a global alliance of 20 Christian relief and development agencies, working together to present a more effective response to poverty worldwide. CEDAR is a member of IA and supports other IA members, like TEAR Fund New Zealand, to provide relief and recovery work to the cyclone victims in Vanuatu.

May Isaiah and her family stand amidst the rubble of what used to be their home
: She has lost her home in the storm (the little girl on the right hand side)

“When the cyclone came I was sleeping at our house. My dad woke me up and carried me to the Nasi Tuan office. My mum took my brothers. As he started running I woke up and began crying because I was scared and getting wet in my clothes. It was crowded in the office and I had to stay there until the next day in the afternoon. I was hungry. When we came back to our house it was gone. Some of my things got lost in the storm or broken including my books, my Bible and my teddy.”

Jacob Tallah surveys the few coffee plants he has left
JACOB TALLA, 50, COFFEE COOPERATIVE GROUP CHAIRMAN, MIDDLEBUSH: He surveys the few coffee plants he has left

“I’ve lived here on this land in Middlebush since I was born. In all my life and even my grandparent’s life we’ve never seen a storm this great. I was scared to see what happened. The storm had destroyed my property. My coffee plantations are covered in large trees and logs and my garden is gone. As the coffee chairman of Nasi Tuan I am overwhelmed by this problem that not only I face, but all the farmers in the group. This year I think my group will be able to produce just under half a tonne. Last year it was 16 tonnes and this year we expected it to be 25-30 tonnes.”

Masau Kinia and his wife Nalin stand on the wreckage of their home (1)
MASAU KALIA AND NALIN WITH THEIR TWO YEAR OLD CHILD: They stand on the wreckage of their home

“During Cyclone Pam, my wife, two children and I moved to a safe house in the middle of our village. There were 92 people inside with the men on the outside holding the house down. I remember thinking to myself that if this storm gets any longer or any stronger, I’m going to die. I must have stood outside for four or five hours. At one point I looked over and saw my house falling to the ground before my eyes. I felt powerless.”

Pastor Willie's Church (2)
is sad to see his church in ruins

“Because I am disabled and elderly my family and I were taken care of by Ola Fou (a local partner of TFNZ) during Cyclone Pam. Thanks to their help my family and our house survived the storm. Unfortunately our church, built over 27 years ago is now completely ruined. We didn’t have enough time to prepare every building as people needed to protect their homes. As the Pastor of the church I feel so sorry for my community as this was their building to use too. I don’t know how we will ever rebuild again.”