ADB provides $1 million in relief for Vanuatu after Cyclone Harold

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) Monday announced a $1 million grant to the Government of Vanuatu to help fund priority recovery activities following Tropical Cyclone Harold, which tore through the centre of Vanuatu on 6 April.

The cyclone affected Ambrym, Malakula, Paama, Ambae, Pentecost, Maewo, Malo, and the large island of Espiritu Santo, where the country’s second-largest city, Luganville, is located.

“As we grapple with the COVID-19 crisis, we must be vigilant and responsive to natural disasters that may occur at any time,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa. “Our Pacific developing member countries are among the most vulnerable countries, globally, to the effects of climate change and ADB stands ready to provide further assistance for Vanuatu to rebuild following the cyclone.”

Cyclone Harold destroyed essential water and power infrastructure, and severely damaged roads, schools, health facilities, homes, livestock, and garden crops. The grant assistance will help restore essential services, assist cleanup efforts, and provide humanitarian supplies to those most vulnerable.

Early damage assessments indicate at least 159,000 people were exposed to the Category 5 storm, which inflicted winds of more than 200 kilometers per hour on a large number of populated islands. Entire villages have been flattened and up to 70% of houses and structures in Luganville have been damaged, on top of serious flooding and crop damage.

ADB’s funding comes from the Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund, which provides quick-disbursing grants to assist ADB’s developing member countries in meeting immediate expenses to restore life-saving services to affected populations following a declared disaster and in augmenting aid provided by other donors in times of natural crisis.