Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Tropical Cyclone Pam, Vanuatu

Just returning to Vanuatu as many of you have asked what is it like after the cyclone...?

We wander amidst what used to be a luxury resort.
The damaged pandamus leaf roofs look woeful and forlorn.

Someone has written the words
'Pam cyclone' beside the door.
It makes me smile.


Such is the tremendous spirit of the Vanuatu people.
They want you to make no mistake 
the miserable, sorrowful sight is not neglect...

Oh no, these two words of explanation
'Pam cyclone' yell proudly
'this is not our norm, nor our reality'...
It's sad, but not somehow not depressing.

 A massive clean-up operation is underway,
the sound of chainsaws in action ring out across the islands, 
and the tourists are slowly coming back.


Next door at Brekkas Resort, it appears business as usual
The inviting hammocks, gently rocking in the breeze.
Waiting, waiting for the tourists to return.
The sea is still ridiculously blue,
the fish still amazing!


Tropical Cyclone Pam tore through the islands of Vanuatu
on March 13th 2015, leaving a trail of destruction.

Pam was declared the 
one of the strongest cyclones ever to hit the South Pacific.

The ensuing widespread havoc left 75,000 people 
in need of temporary tents and shelters across the islands.
Remarkably, there were just 11 confirmed fatalities.


We walk beside homes with no roofs, their flimsy structures 
made from local timber, bamboo and pandamus stood no chance,
flattened like a cruel game of kerplunk.


Following the storm, the Aid Agencies came to help.
The likes of Red Cross, World Vision, Samaritans Purse, 
 assist with support, housing and aid. 
Across Efate we find many of these temporary homes.


In those initial days after the storm, 
which badly hit the capital of Port Vila
 they estimated up to 80% of the power lines were down
 and 96% of the food crops were damaged.

Schools disappeared, 
with 50% of the countries education infrastructure
either being badly damaged or destroyed.

Our walk takes us past bags of sugar
beside the road, there is no place left to store it!


At Secret Beach, we see what wind gusts of up to 320kmph
can do to the trees which remain stripped of their leaves, 
broken, bent and battered...

Three toilets are recovered, waiting...



They say much has been achieved in the way of rebuilding
and Vanuatu is very much marketing itself as 'open for business'
Even if you may have to be a little careful which resort you choose.

#YourHolidayHelps 
is a Vanuatu Tourist Board initiative to attract Holidaymakers to visit.


Whilst homes and businesses have been destroyed,
we find a surprising amount of business as usual.
We can see the cyclone damage, but it does not impact greatly on our holiday.
We encourage others to holiday in Vanuatu.

The Melanesian spirit of a Vanuatu nation twice voted 
the happiest place on earth, has been tested this year, but not destroyed.


We were happy to have chosen Vanuatu for our holiday
and hope that in some small way to have contributed.
#YourHolidayHelps

For more from Vanuatu please see these previous posts
Linking with the following with thanks

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