Oxfam and its partners are preparing to respond to category 5 Tropical Cyclone Harold which made landfall on the Pacific nation of Vanuatu, affecting more than 200,000 people.
Oxfam in Vanuatu Country Director Elizabeth Faerua said: “We are collaborating with our local partners and working with the National Disaster Management Office, Provincial Governments and Area Councils to respond accordingly.”
The Category 5 cyclone, made landfall in Santo and Malo islands in Vanuatu’s northern Sanma Province this morning local time and the slow-moving storm is now moving into the Penama and Malampa Provinces. The three provinces have a population of 127,000 people, many of whom are considered high risk as their very livelihoods depend on their food and vegetable gardens.
The cyclone left a trail of damage when it passed the Solomon Islands yesterday, at which point it was a Category 2 storm with winds of up to 160kmh. On Monday, the Cyclone Harold hit the north and west of the country flattening properties in the second-largest city of Luganville.
"Cyclone Harold was bearing down as residents lived under a State of Emergency in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to the country," added Faerua.
"Our teams are on standby as the country braces for the impact of what is believed to be one of the worse storms since Tropical Cyclone Pam in 2015 devastated the country."
“Oxfam and its local partners are working with the National Disaster Management Office and the Provincial Governments and Area Councils to prepare for Cyclone Harold. Teams are on standby as the country braces for the impact of what is believed to be one of the worse storms since Tropical Cyclone Pam in 2015 devastated the country.” Faerua said.
Oxfam will conduct a remote survey across all the provinces to better assess and identify a suitable response to support income and livelihoods of vulnerable households across Vanuatu.
“There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Vanuatu, but a significant disaster at this time could present serious logistical challenges to delivering life-saving aid, while adding to the significant economic and social toll the global pandemic has already taken on the country.”
Faerua reported that teams are on standby as the country braces for the impact of what is believed to be one of the worse storms since Tropical Cyclone Pam in 2015 devastated the country.
Oxfam is starting to assess the impacts of COVID-19 and TC Harold on people’s lives and livelihoods, and based on the results will respond in Vanuatu with cash transfer programming, collaborating with local partners and government to coordinate the response.