23 Apr 2015

Vanuatu churches train for disaster counselling

4:11 pm on 23 April 2015

The Uniting Church in Australia has highlighted the need for churches in Vanuatu to tend to the spiritual and emotional needs of victims of Cyclone Pam which ravaged much of the country in mid-March.

Melanesia church.

Melanesia church. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

Reverend Dr Stephen Robinson of the Uniting Church is in Vanuatu conducting disaster awareness training for priests and pastors of the Anglican and Presbyterian churches.

"Pastors needed to understand how people who have been traumatised how it affects the way they are thinking and also what the needs will be for him. What special needs will be emerging that they will need to address or work with."

Reverend Robinson says it is great that donor countries and agencies tend to the physical and material needs of disaster victims. But he believes Churches have an important role in tending to the spiritual and emotional trauma that disaster stricken communities face.

Mothers at Nalema Village, South Epi.

Mothers at Nalema Village, South Epi, Shepherd Islands, following Cyclone Pam Photo: RNZI / Koroi Hawkins