Long-term recovery efforts from the devastation left by tropical cyclone Pam will receive a welcome boost in four Pacific Island nations following a EUR 6 million funding agreement between the Pacific Community (SPC) and development bank KfW, on behalf of the Government of Germany.
The funding agreement and some of the practical recovery measures it will support were announced on Tuesday night in Port Vila, Vanuatu, by the Pacific Community Director-General, Dr Colin Tukuitonga.
“Almost one year ago, cyclone Pam brought to the forefront the high risk of Pacific Island countries and territories to a range of natural hazards. Sadly, we’re witnessing this again with the destruction left by tropical cyclone Winston in Fiji,” Dr Tukuitonga said.
“The recovery from such major disaster events takes years, and relies on the commitment of national governments, the generosity of spirit of development partners and the will of local communities.
“The intent of the KfW funding is to support activities that will contribute to the socio-economic recovery of the four countries, build resilience and help secure nutrition and health.
“The package of support was developed in consultation with the governments of Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, and informed by post-disaster needs assessments and their current development priorities.
“The most severe impacts of cyclone Pam were felt in Vanuatu, and so many of our activities will be focused there,” Dr Tukuitonga added.
Vanuatu suffered 11 fatalities, the displacement of thousands of people from their homes as well as severe damage to crops, infrastructure and livelihoods, especially in the worst hit southern provinces of Shefa and Tafea.
In Vanuatu, the funding will provide crucial assistance to rehabilitation activities, such as the restoration of safe drinking water systems and emergency communications, improving food security, support for health services, repairs to maritime and aids to navigation as well as the provision of multi-hazard mapping of Vanuatu’s at risk outer islands.
SPC contributed technical support in the immediate aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Pam, providing surge capacity to national agencies in the areas of post disaster needs assessment, food security, health surveillance and data for decision making, such as satellite imagery.
SPC’s announcement of the disaster resilience programme in response to TC Pam, and the KfW support on behalf of the Government of Germany, coincided with a high-level consultation between Vanuatu’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and SPC to discuss collaborative sustainable development efforts, which included the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding.
Photo credit is for Jean-Baptiste Calo
Cyclone Pam response