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Latest News / Vanuatu: Support Needed

Vanuatu: Support Needed

[The following extract has been supplied to NZKGI by Fruit of the Pacific]


Project Overview:

Two weeks on from Tropical Cyclone Harold, photos and assessments have just started filtering in from the various cluster groups. They reflect a grim reality for many islands and communities in northern Vanuatu. The shelter cluster estimates there is damage to over 80% of housing stock.  Medical clinics and schools are left in ruins.  Some communities have absolutely no food left and will be relying on aid packages for months as fruit trees and gardens are completely destroyed.

It is a very challenging environment to deliver and distribute relief and rebuild aid with the COVID-19 situation and the amazing fact that Vanuatu are currently COVID-19-free. At this time, the Vanuatu National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) have said they will not be accepting any international aid unless by very specific invite only.

Thankfully we have a local team on Tanna who are able to respond with very practical help. This team is lead by an RSE worker from Te Puke, Joe Iautu, who has managed a sawmill programme for the last 5 years since Cyclone Pam. In 2015/16 the team were able to offer over 20 RSE communities on Tanna rebuild support after Cyclone Pam, through our Te Puke Tanna rebuild programme.  

This week, Joe and his team have been approved by Vanuatu’s National Disaster Management Office to be deployed to the northern islands to once again support their nation in a time of need.  They will be milling fallen timber and providing that free of charge to the communities so they can rebuild medical clinics, schools, churches etc.

I definitely recommend watching this video to understand the full impact of this cyclone on their buildings and infrastructure and to see just how valuable a sawmill will be to the recovery efforts:


Use of Funds

100% of donations are being sent directly to the team to cover all their operational and travel costs and make the milling and provision of timber completely free for the communities they’ll work in.  For a team of four to mill for 60hrs a week, their operational, travel and accom/food costs –  it will cost about $1,500 per week.  We are also sending them up with a full repairs and maintenance kit ($3k) so that nothing delays their efforts.  We are working with the government for their transport to be included on government charters but will need our own return funds.  

This is a great initiative for RSE employers and workers to get behind because it is an in-country response, led by RSE workers.  



There are two options for donations: 

 We currently have raised $7500 with a goal of between $15-$20k to allow the team to mill for 10 weeks.

We will add any donor to a regular update/newsletter list to communicate the progress of the sawmill team.  We will also provide donors a final cashflow report, demonstrating where donations/ funding was spent during the project.