8 May 2020

Vanuatu govt extends State of Emergency

1:36 pm on 8 May 2020

Vanuatu's government has decided to extend a State of Emergency in place for both Covid-19 and the aftermath of Cyclone Harold.

Vanuatu parliament

Vanuatu parliament Photo: RNZ/Sally Round

The Vanuatu Daily Post reported that the Council of Ministers approved for the SOE, which had been due to end on Monday, to be extended for another 30 days.

Cabinet's decision followed a request from the National Disaster Management Office for an extension.

Cyclone Harold hit Vanuatu as a category five storm a month ago, but the delivery of relief to affected communities had only gathered pace recently due to restrictions on travel as part of the pandemic response, as well as damaged infrastructure.

Around 18,000 people were being housed in 272 evacuation centres in Sanma, Penama and Malampa provinces after the disaster.

Recovery from the cyclone was expected to be a long process, while Vanuatu authorities maintained measures to protect the country from the coronavirus.

There have been no confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Vanuatu.