Port Vila, 14 Mar – MapAction is sending two personnel to Vanuatu to help coordinate the response to Cyclone Pam, which struck the South Pacific islands on Friday. The team will be working in partnership with the United Nations’ Disaster Assessment and Coordination teams and the National Disaster Management Office to map the needs of affected communities and help coordinate the response.
Cyclone Pam struck Vanuatu late on Friday night and has caused widespread devastation to homes and livelihoods. The United Nations has described the impact as “catastrophic”.
In particular there are concerns about communities on outlying southern islands, with which communication has been cut. These islands are home to more than 33,000 people and typically have less developed infrastructure. Fears have been raised that communities will have struggled to find adequate shelter to withstand a storm of this magnitude.
This is MapAction’s first emergency deployment to Vanuatu, however the charity has extensive experience of responding to major weather-related emergencies, including the devastating Typhoon Haiyan that struck the Philippines in 2013.