24 Mar 2014

NGO says cyclone text alerts pay off in Vanuatu

7:35 am on 24 March 2014

The head of an NGO in Vanuatu says disaster training helped people to keep in touch via a text messaging network despite a temporary radio outage during Cyclone Lusi.

The Programme Manager for Care International in Vanuatu says the agency has been working with local people on the island of Futuna, in Tafea Province, over the past five years and teaching them how to mobilise their resources in an emergency.

Charlie Damon says communication with Futuna can be sketchy but by using key people, cyclone alerts were able to get through.

She says the agency acted as a conduit for information from Port Vila to Futuna.

"We were then texting on to every community member that has a significant role in the community disaster committee and advising them to prepare their communities and evacuate to safe houses and that kind of thing. And as a result they report that whilst they could feel the effects of the cyclone; everybody was safe, no body was injured and nobody was killed."

The Care International Programme Manager, Charlie Damon.