Australia’s additional support to Vanuatu welcome, with food supplies still critically low

INTERNATIONAL aid organisation CARE Australia has welcomed the Australian Government’s announcement yesterday of an additional $5 million in support to Vanuatu, following Cyclone Pam.

Category Five Cyclone Pam, which hit the Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu on 13 March, killed 16 people and affected more than 160,000. More than 13,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, and an estimated 90 per cent of crops were wiped out across the country. This has left thousands living off food aid from international aid groups.

Yesterday’s announcement includes an additional $1.2 million to support urgent food needs and to restore local food sources.

“Much of Vanuatu live from the food that they grow in their gardens and farms,” said Inga Mepham, Program Director for CARE Vanuatu. “Cyclone Pam destroyed 90 per cent of these crops, leaving families relying on food rations from organisations like CARE to get them through each day.

“While communities are doing what they can to re‐plant crops and preserve what they have, the parents that we meet are eating just once a day, and are deeply worried about the health of their children.

“Yesterday’s announcement from the Australian Government is welcome, and will play an important role in providing greater food security for thousands of families across Vanuatu’s 83 islands,” said Ms Mepham.

In partnership with Governments of the Republic of Vanuatu and Tafea Province, CARE has now distributed more than 34 tonnes of lifesaving food, and 18 tonnes of basic building and households items to isolated communities across Vanuatu’s hardest‐hit islands of Erromango, Aniwa, Futuna and Tanna.

To donate to CARE’s Cyclone Pam response, visit www.care.org.au/pam, call 1800 DONATE (1800 020 046) or SMS ‘PAM’ to 0455 020 020. A donation of $55 can provide five families with seeds and tools so they can grow fruit and vegetables for the coming months.

CARE has worked in Vanuatu since 2008, focussing on building resilience to disasters and climate change shocks, and increasing women and girls’ involvement in community leadership. CARE Australia is an international humanitarian aid organisation fighting poverty, with a special focus on working with women and girls to bring lasting change to their communities.

Source: CARE Australia
Image Source: CARE Australia aid packages being delivered to Vanuatu ©Stefan Knollmayer/CARE

Ryan Fritz

Ryan Fritz started The Advocate in 2014 to provide not-for-profits and charities another media platform to tell their worthwhile hard news stories and opinion pieces effortlessly. In 2020, Ryan formed a team of volunteer journalists to help spread even more high-quality stories from the third sector. He also has over 10 years experience as a media and communications professional for not-for-profits and charities and currently works at Redkite, a childhood cancer charity.

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Ryan Fritz started The Advocate in 2014 to provide not-for-profits and charities with another media platform to tell their worthwhile hard news stories and opinion pieces effortlessly. In 2020, Ryan formed a team of volunteer journalists to help spread even more high-quality stories from the third sector. He also has over 10 years of experience as a media and communications professional for not-for-profits and charities.

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