Natural disasters can strike at any moment, leaving communities devastated and in dire need of aid. This is currently the case for the people of Vanuatu, who have been hit by back-to-back cyclones, Judy and Kevin, leaving hundreds of thousands in need of shelter and clean drinking water. The severity of the impact has caused damage to homes and water sources, leaving many without a safe place to stay and access to clean water.
Despite the challenges, the Vanuatu Red Cross has been working closely with the National Disaster Management Office to provide immediate assistance to those in evacuation centres and affected communities. Over 300 trained Red Cross volunteers have been deployed to assist with the disaster response, tirelessly working to provide aid to those in need.
The support of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has also been crucial in providing aid to the affected communities. Emergency funds totaling 799,389 Swiss Francs have been released to provide support to Vanuatu Red Cross for nine months, enabling them to distribute relief items to those who need them most. These include shelter toolkits, tarpaulins, hygiene kits, solar lanterns, and jerry cans for storing water. So far, over 5,000 people have received immediate relief aid from Vanuatu Red Cross volunteers.
However, the impact of these two cyclones will be felt for a long time, and a well-coordinated response plan is needed to get people back on their feet as soon as possible. The IFRC is already assisting Vanuatu Red Cross to scale up its activities, with personnel deployed in key technical roles such as Shelter cluster coordination and IT and telecommunications. The aim is to provide assistance where it is most needed and identify gaps in the response plan to ensure that all affected communities are supported.