The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, has released US$2.5 million from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to get life-saving aid to thousands of people affected by Tropical Cyclone Harold in Vanuatu, in the South Pacific Ocean.
Tropical Cyclone Harold made landfall in Vanuatu on 6 April on the island of Espiritu Santo, before hitting the Solomon Islands, Fiji and Tonga. Initial assessments suggest that as much as 90 percent of the population in Sanma, the most affected province of Vanuatu, lost their homes, and more than half of all schools and almost a quarter of health centres were damaged. Crops have been destroyed and many communities are now cut off from help because of flooding and the destruction of roads.
The CERF funds will enable UN agencies and humanitarian organizations to get safe drinking water, food, shelter and health care where they are most needed. It will also support local and international logistics to enable the distribution of aid supplies.
“As the extent of the destruction becomes clear, this UN funding will ensure aid supplies are maintained and reach the people who need it,” Mr. Lowcock said. “As the COVID-19 pandemic touches us all, now more than ever is the moment to support vulnerable countries like Vanuatu when they are hit by climate-related disasters. Not only will this help save lives, but it will help them rebuild their resilience, which is essential if they are to successfully fight the virus.”
To facilitate the movement of aid supplies, the Government of Vanuatu has eased in-country travel restrictions and lifted restrictions on domestic air and sea operations.
Original source: UNOCHA
Published on 14 April 2020