3 Jun 2015

Vanuatu collects US$8m in cyclone contributions

3:49 pm on 3 June 2015

Vanuatu's Minister of Finance says the government has so far received just over eight million US dollars in international contributions towards the Cyclone Pam relief and rebuild.

While the final assessment of the impact of Pam is still being completed, recent estimates say recovery costs could reach 570 million dollars.

Maki Simelum says the eight million only includes cash contributions and not the assistance that has been given by nations like New Zealand and Australia in the form of vessels and manpower.

"The government received some pledges from some agencies including some donor partners, multi-lateral institutions like World Bank, ADB, IMF and the UN as well but most of that came in the form of humanitarian aid."

Mr Simelum also says parliament approved over 2.26 million dollars during an extra-ordinary session this week.

He says most of the money has already been used and the measure is to legalise the government spending.

People wait to be seen at the main hospital in Port Vila after Cyclone Pam. One wing was left standing.

People wait to be seen at the main hospital in Port Vila after Cyclone Pam in March Photo: RNZI / Koroi Hawkins

Vanuatu's main hospital is still struggling to cope with increased referrals from outer islands where 80 percent of health aid posts remain destroyed or damaged.

The Medical Superintendent at the Vila Central Hospital says the situation is aggravated by staff shortages.

Richard Leona says the assistance of UN agencies and overseas medical personnel is providing some respite but longer term solutions must be found.

"We have an increased number of patients coming from the provinces because the infrastructure in the province have been damaged so we are now getting more referrals after the cyclone. So we have got the challenge of human resources at the nursing level and also in the x-ray department."

Dr Leona says the hospital administration's budget has also been severely depleted and wards damaged by the cyclone are still in need of proper reconstruction and repairs.

Damage by Cyclone Pam in remote parts of Vanuatu.

Damage by Cyclone Pam in remote parts of Vanuatu. Photo: RNZ / Shaun O'Callaghan

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