US$1.7 million to support Vanuatu’s cyclone recovery: CERF

Police officers take disaster relief to an evacuation centre in Tanna.

The United Nations’ Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has approved US$1.7 million funding for recovery efforts in Vanuatu following twin Category-4 cyclones Judy and Kevin earlier this month.

The funding, the Vanuatu Government have confirmed, will specifically support three key areas – food security, water and sanitation hygiene (WASH), and emergency shelter, targeted at the most vulnerable and most affected populations in Vanuatu.

This update was announced last week in a Pacific Humanitarian Team (PHT) meeting hosted jointly by the Government of Vanuatu and the UN.

The meeting was attended by over 150 people, including ambassadors and high-level representatives from 37 countries and about 40 organisations.

“The Government of Vanuatu has shown world class leadership in their response efforts. It’s crucial that we convene today and decide how we can continue this excellent teamwork and collaboration in response to the twin cyclones which hit Vanuatu,” said Sanaka Samarasinha, UN Resident Coordinator to Vanuatu, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Tuvalu, who co-chaired the PHT with Vanuatu’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jotham Napat.

Napat added that the support shown towards Vanuatu’s rebuild efforts were overwhelming and that Vanuatu is still in a “time of need”.

“Both cyclones left massive trails of destruction, causing serious damage to infrastructure, buildings, connectivity, and crops. They struck at a time when Vanuatu is still recovering from the impacts of tropical cyclone Harold,” Napat said.

The joint Government-PHT meeting was an important opportunity to discuss damages, the Vanuatu Government’s short and long-term priority needs, response and priority plans, and ways development partner can assist.

Minister Napat said the Vanuatu Government’s immediate focus will be to create a response plan, followed by a recovery phase plan.

“We want to truly build back better – more resilient people and a more resilient nation, especially when the prognosis for future disasters remains high,” Minister Napat added.

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