Cyclone Pam Vanuatu: On the Ground Update
Our friends on the ground at Vanuatu Yacht Services, Justin and Claire have thankfully escaped the cyclone relatively unscathed but there is a lot of work to be done. Below is an update from the team on the ground in Vanuatu.
Vanuatu Yacht Services
Most of our staff (over 12 families) have been left with broken homes and are in a desperate plight. We have had some of our clients and friends offer to help financially support the rebuilding of our team’s homes. Right now we have provided food and temporary solutions like tarpaulins and nails, and are completing a materials list so we can prepare to buy the building supplies needed.
We are running on generator power and therefore can access the internet. However there is still no power in Port Vila or anywhere else for that matter. Communications are also scanty and destroyed in most places, as well as water supplies. Bridges had collapsed and many roads are damaged.
Our facility at the Port Vila Boatyard incurred minor damage and all the vessels that were stored in the hardstand at the Port Vila Boatyard and on our moorings were unscathed. Unfortunately, the majority of boats, yachts, fishing vessels, etc that were in the harbour have sunk or run aground with severe damage.
While the island of Tanna received the brunt of the storm and is in a bad way, the island of Santo was not as badly affected by Cyclone Pam We hope the gardens in Santo will be able to provide fresh food to the markets in other islands.
Evacuation is available for most expatriates, and for those families whose home are destroyed, are ill,, or who have very young children - this is a good thing. However, many expats are staying on to rebuild their businesses and volunteer. I know that some of the fishing and diving operators have already ordered new boats and everyone is getting on to keep the economy thriving.
The people of Vanuatu are so grateful that there was not much more loss of life and are all hard at work clearing debris, sawing trees and rebuilding homes. The positive attitude, self sufficiency, community values and work ethic of the Ni-Vanuatu is truly remarkable and admirable. I’d say the biggest story is how incredibly resilient and upbeat the people of this amazing archipelago are.
Vanuatu is a large country with big islands and although there is damage we are convinced that with the support of the global aid agencies such as Red Cross and the countries who have pledged to help, that Vanuatu will be ready to receive superyachts and tourists within a month. The outer island communities who provide the backbone of the cruising opportunities for superyachts will be delighted to receive superyachts. Both the remote outer islands and the main centres will benefit greatly from the continued support of Superyacht tourism.
Presently we are working to raise enough funds to rebuild the homes of our Ni-Vanuatu staff and their extended family. It is critical that people have adequate water and comfort and can return to work so they can support their families. Schools are working hard to rebuild so that they can reopen and children can resume their schooling and establish some routine and normality.
Vanuatu Yacht Services looks forward to welcoming superyachts this season and sharing in the joy of living in this Paradise, because despite being hit by a super cyclone, Vanuatu is still incredibly beautiful and welcoming.
Please contact us if you are heading or know of any yachts that may be heading through Vanuatu and may be able to help.