Vanuatu Rebuilds after Cyclone Pam

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In March, Vanuatu was hit by a devastating cyclone. It is now regarded as the worst natural disaster to have struck Vanuatu. 90% of the country’s infrastructure was destroyed and the small island nation in the South Pacific has been reeling ever since.

With a disaster of this scale, relief and recovery efforts go on for many months. The Charitable Trust set up a platform to gather donations for the long-term recovery effort. We recently identified a local partner and allocated funds to them for the recovery effort.

The Wan Smolbag Theatre (WST) is a non-government organisation that has 16 full-time core actors working in theatre productions, radio drama and film work. The aim of the theatre is “to increase discussion of important issues facing society and promote community action as well as to provide training and materials to schools, communities, NGOs and government departments in the Pacific and beyond.” 

An overall total of 112 WST staff and members have been impacted by Cyclone Pam and were supported through the Wan Smolbag Cyclone Pam Relief Project. Sixteen of these had suffered total destruction of their homes. The donation by GVI Charitable Trust has enabled the WST to provide support to over half the affected staff and members of WST.

The donation from The Charitable Trust towards the Wan Smolbag Cyclone Pam Relief Project was the largest received to date, so it was crucial in terms of helping Wan Smolbag Theatre staff and members to:

  1. Rebuild homes that were damaged by the cyclone;
  2. Replace essential household items such as bedding and kitchen ware; and
  3. Purchase food supplies

It should be noted that the price of food increased dramatically after the cyclone as local produce had to be shipped in from outer islands that had not been affected as much by the cyclone. The sudden change in diet – due to lack of fresh greens and fruits – has affected the health of many people in and around Port Vila. Having access to support for food supplies or for other essential supplies so that more of people’s existing funds can be spent on food supplies, has eased the burden on staff and members greatly during this difficult period.

To all of the generous donors, from the WST community: “We thank you for thinking of us and lending a hand to get us back on our feet, move on and rebuild our lives after one of the worst natural disasters to have affected Vanuatu in living memory.”

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