Red Cross releases extra funds to Vanuatu

Aid packages for Cyclone Harold victims Photo: IFRC

The Red Cross has released more than $US678,000 in additional funding to help Vanuatu in its recovery from the devastation caused by Cyclone Harold.

The cyclone, which also caused damages in Fiji, Tonga and Solomon Islands, struck Vanuatu earlier this month as a powerful category five storm, the highest possible on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

At the time of TC Harold’s arrival, the country, which is one of the most disaster-prone in the world, was already dealing with immense humanitarian challenges, including Covid-19 preparedness as well as ongoing volcanic eruptions in Tafea province and localised flooding.

The Vanuatu Red Cross were already conducting Covid-19 awareness and hygiene promotion in communities when the cyclone struck, and they have now scaled up their extensive volunteer network throughout the islands to support the needs of people affected by it.

The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said the additional funding provided a much needed boost to the ongoing recovery effort.

The IFRC’s Pacific head, Kathryn Clarkson, said the funding would target 5,050 families, approximately 30 percent of the affected population, with emergency shelter needs, non-food relief items, water, sanitation and hygiene promotion, health and first aid.

“With restrictions on travel at the moment across the Pacific due to Covid-19, we also need to adjust to provide technical support remotely from our IFRC office in Fiji with additional delegates working remotely from New Zealand and Australia,” she said.

Source: RNZ