'Huge needs' in Vanuatu following Cyclone Donna

A helicopter manager in Vanuatu said assessment of the damage from Cyclone Donna has revealed huge needs in the Torres Islands where about 1,200 people live.

Vanuatu Helicopters took an assessment team to the five islands that make up Torres - Toga, Loh, Tegua, Metoma and Hui - over the weekend.

The operations manager Andy Martin said there was very little food as all the crops were destroyed, houses were ruined and the water was tainted.

Martin said people seemed to be in good spirits, but he wished he could have done more to help.

"I saw a lot of broken houses, a lot of water tanks had been blown away simply because it's been a very dry season for them so they had very little in their water tanks anyway. And in the gutterings of roofs of churches and main buildings a lot of gutterings were broken so any water catchment from there wasn't going into the water thanks that were still there. Saw a lot of houses busted and broken and people still trying to live in the broken houses," he said.

RNZI reports Vanuatu disaster officials are prioritising water and shelter items for Torres Island families who suffered the most damage in the cyclone.

Two-hundred cartons of bottled water and other non-food items like medical aid were shipped for distribution to the islands.

Director of the National Disaster Management Office Shadrack Welegtabit said food would also have to be sent to the Torres area while other cyclone affected zones need further assessment.

"We will be looking at Banks and we are going to do a proper assessment on those islands. And so we are organising that as well now. Not only Banks but also we are organising an assessment for west coast Santo and parts of west Malekula," Welegtabit said..

He said an assessment team visited the worst affected areas over the weekend.

Martin said they also delivered seeds for people to start planting to grow their food gardens again.

Vanuatu Red Cross has also delivered non Food items (NFI) relief to the RVS Tukoro.

The vessel is transporting the NFI to people in the Torba province.

VRCS staff Oscar Joseph is onboard the RVS Tukoro and with the support of the Red Cross volunteers on the field they will distribute the non food items to affected people. 


Photo by Vanuatu Red Cross