23 Mar 2015

MSG Secretariat donates to Vanuatu

11:18 am on 23 March 2015

The Melanesian Spearhead Group Secretariat has delivered three truckloads of food and water to the National Disaster Management Office in Vanuatu as part of the Cyclone Pam relief effort.

A woman carries bananas found amid the destruction caused by Cyclone Pam.

A woman carries bananas found amid the destruction caused by Cyclone Pam. Photo: AFP

The Director of Operations Jean Pierre Nirua officially handed over of five tons of rice, 100 cartons of canned fish, 100 cartons of noodles and 100 cartons of water to the Director of the NDMO.

During the handing over ceremony, Mr Nirua expressed profound sympathies to Vanuatu and explained that the Port Vila-based MSG Secretariat could not just remain indifferent to the urgent needs of thousands of homeless while other organisations were working around the clock to assist.

Mr Nirua says the MSG Secretariat is not a donor agency but it is bound by Melanesian culture never to turn a blind eye on those in despair and real need.

Aid reaches Tanna

The first disaster relief food, drinking water and tents were flown to Tanna Island with a population of 30,000 people that were the worst hit by the cyclone.

Relief assistance delivery has started in Efate and the National Disaster Management Office confirms it's targeting 33,000 households in need of urgent assistance.

Meanwhile Carnival Australia and Swire Shipping whose cruise liners visit Vanuatu bringing in thousands of tourists every year, are sending four of their ships with emergency relief assistance to Vanuatu in the coming days.

P&O Cruises' Pacific Dawn and Pacific Pearl and Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Legend and Carnival Spirit will bring in supplies and their ni-Vanuatu staff employed on the ships are being brought home to meet their families.

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Cruise ships are due to deliver aid to cyclone victims Photo: AFP

Tongoa awaits aid

The people of Tongoa Island in Vanuatu are waiting for boats with supplies to arrive this morning.

The Vanuatu government has started distributing supplies out to the islands after spending a week assessing where the aid was needed.

Save the Children spokesperson on Tongoa Island, Ben Taura, says people are already gathered at the wharf waiting to unload the ships of supplies which are expected there by lunch time.

The island is 100 kilometres from the capital Port Vila, and Mr Taura says people have been surviving off their own crops and food stores, but they've nearly run out of water.

He says they will store the water, food and shelter supplies immediately so they can closely supervise its distribution.