Vanuatu youth presidents mobilise young people for disaster response

Provincial and municipal youth council presidents in Vanuatu have been mobilising young people to help authorities respond to natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vanuatu was hit by TC Harold in April and residents on Tanna have been affected by ashfall from the Yasur volcano. 

The two disasters have caused devastation to properties and vegetation.

Vanuatu National Youth Council (VNYC) through the current leadership of President Morry Rueben and its executive would like to see that the VNYC secretariat and its members including young people be participative and supportive during these times.

“In times of disasters, we as young people are always front liners to show support within our communities. People rely on us to play our part- do something for our homes, neighbours, community and nation as a whole,” Mr. Rueben said.

He said young people always play an important role in disaster preparedness and recovery by providing human resource availability to action out given tasks required by parents or community leaders.

The VNYC head added that young people are active therefore their involvement and participation in times of disaster is very much valuable.

He said young people have been mobilised throughout Vanuatu to respond to disaster preparedness and recovery.

Port Vila Municipal Youth Council (PVMYC) president, John Botleng has recently involved in the successful organising of a wheel barrow & kamion push in Port Vila as well as being part of organising and mobilizing youth volunteers to involve and advocate for the recent Givhan Festival.

The activities were held as part of PVMYC’s and the Shefa Youth Council’s support to those affected from the aftermath of TC Harold.

Mr Botleng is currently on the island of Pentecost helping out in conducting COVID-19 awareness and distributing dignity kits for young women and girls (15-24yrs) donated by the UNFPA Pacific. He will also be traveling throughout all islands up north to continue providing assistance.

In TAFEA, the TAFEA youth council president, Albea Watt has also mobilized young people to work together with the Provincial Government Council to help distribute food to families in Tanna who have been affected by the volcanic ash fall.

He has been supported by a number of young activists to fundraise and collect food for additional donation.

“I would like to acknowledge all young people who have worked tirelessly to make sure that our families from the volcanic ash have received their donations of food in time,” he said.

“Without your hard work, nothing better would have happened. I really appreciate your helping heart in times like this and may you continue to display the working spirit of supportiveness and care to those vulnerable.”

VNYC Office North has confirmed that in TORBA, MALAMPA, SANMA and Luganville- Youth provincial and municipal presidents have also engaged themselves to provide disaster recovery assistance.

“We were on the field soon after TC Harold passed,” says VNYC Northern Officer, Johnny Avock.

“We have helped to mobilise young people who have volunteered themselves to be part of the team to do deep assessment. It was indeed a challenging time for everyone; however, we are glad to say that our assistance and support is vital in times like time.” He mentioned they have also been part of the Gender Cluster Team, undertaking assessment as well as helping out in the distribution of food and other necessary items needed to those affected, adding, “We have last week deployed another 17 young people to West Malo to assist the Civil Registry Department for the registration of National IDs”.

Mr Avock said volunteers are key changers and motivators who are always there to assist to get work done in time.

The VNYC Secretariat would like to acknowledge the greater efforts everyone is performing to make sure that no one is left behind.

It would like to acknowledge both the youth council presidents and young people who have taken this step out to show communities that young people are always key changers despite of who they are and what they do.

“Youth can always lead,” the VNYC Secretariat stated.

Photo supplied Caption: Port Vila Municipal Youth Council President John Botleng conducting awareness on COVID- 19



Tensly Sumbe