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Updated On: Monday, 16 September 2019

162,000 to Receive Food Aid in Vanuatu Following Cyclone

Content by: South-South News

24 March 2015, New York, USA | Brendan Pastor – When Cyclone Pam wreaked havoc in the lower western Pacific Ocean two weeks ago, the extent of the damage to regional island nations was immediately clear.

Within hours, international aid groups and support initiatives were mobilized to provide relief to the affected countries. Particular emphasis was placed on relief for Vanuatu, a small chain of islands over a 1,000 miles east of Australia, whose residents bore the brunt of the damage.

This week, the World Food Programme has stepped up operations in Vanuatu's communities, supplementing food support provided by the government in an effort to improve conditions for nation's 162,000 people.

"WFP is supplementing the government's food distribution to all affected people, over 160,000, in the next 2 weeks," Victoria Cavanaugh, a WFP spokesperson, said. "Going forward, WFP plans to assist the most vulnerable until they can provide for themselves again."

The extent of the damage across the island likely means the food operations will continue for several weeks. Many local communities have complained of total loss of agricultural yields and extensive damage to domestic infrastructure, thereby putting a strain on food resources.

A Salili villager, Margaret Norma, said "the wind come and blow out the manioc and the taro. Everything in the garden, cabbage. No. nothing in the garden now. So, we have nothing."

So far, food packages have been dispatched from Port Vila to six priority islands in Shefa Province and to Tanna Island in Tafea Province. Further island dispatches are planned. An Australian military aircraft with almost 50 metric tons of WFP fortified biscuits is on its way from the Philippines to Port Vila.

WFP estimates it will need USD $7.73 million over the next three months for food, logistics and communications operations in Vanuatu. Funds and support have already been received from the United States, Australia, and United Arab Emirates.

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