Vanuatu/ Cyclone Pam: Distributing Clean Clothes and Kitchen Goods

“We are wearing scavenged clothes”

AAR Japan is engaged in emergency relief activities in Vanuatu, a South Pacific island country, which was struck by Cyclone Pam from March 13th to 14th, 2015. The cyclone devastated Vanuatu, a sprawling country of 83 islands and approximately 230,000 people. The storm affected around 166,000 people who are in need of some form of humanitarian assistance.

AAR Japan dispatched Fukuro KAKIZAWA to Vanuatu on March 18th, 2015. He assessed the extent of damage on Tanna Island, which suffered severe damage, and Efate Island, where Port Vila, the capital city, is located. AAR Japan distributed clothes and kitchen goods in villages on the east side of Efate Island following coordination meetings with other humanitarian agencies from all over the world, including the United Nations. The other agencies had not yet reached these villages despite the scale of damage.

A mother and daughter living in Takara Village receive a bag full of clothes. Clean clothes were not available for two weeks in the aftermath of the cyclone. Fukuro KAKIZAWA of AAR Japan. (Right) (March 26th, 2015)
The victims were living in conditions of poor hygiene. The wind blew away clothes and dishes. The victims put on scavenged clothes after washing them in seawater, and used scavenged dishes from the ground.

Distribution contents (per family)
1. Kitchen goods: 
Pot x1, Dish (Plastic) x3, Spoon (small) x3, Spoon (large) x2, Kitchen knife x3, Basin (for washing dishes) x2, Sponge x1, Detergent for dishes x1, Match box x1, Candle box x3, Repellent coil box x3
2. Clothes: 
T-shirt x2, Pants x1, Skirt x1, Children’s clothes (top and bottom) x3

March 26th, 2015     
Distributed clothes to 56 families in Takara Village, Efate Island
March 28th, 2015     
Distributed kitchen goods and clothes to 39 families (all families in the village) in Primo Water Village, Efate Island
March 29th, 2015    
Distributed clothes to 39 families in Ebao Village, Efate Island

A local staff member, Margaret (center), is also a victim of the cyclone. She pushed herself hard when distributing relief goods in Ebao Village, saying “I would like to help other victims”. (March 29th, 2015)
Children showing clothes they just received in Ebao village. Since most men are at work during the day, women and children came to the distribution site. (March 29th, 2015)
A woman cooking with distributed kitchen goods in Primo Water Village. AAR Japan’s distribution was the first emergency assistance that the village received. (March 29th, 2015)
This picture captures relief kitchen goods for one family. The victims were using muddy dishes after digging them out of the ground before AAR Japan’s kitchen set distribution.
As Primo Water Village is located along a river, all 39 families were affected by flooding caused by Cyclone Pam. The water was waist high. The floodwaters swept away their houses, and all of their belongings were buried under the ground. (March 29th, 2015)
Cyclone Pam swept away all of the trees and the ground turned brown. This place was previously a jungle. (March 29th, 2015)

It has been more than two weeks since Cyclone Pam struck, and ferry services to remote islets have been resumed. Accordingly, the details of the disaster impact have become clearer. Relief assistance from the Government of Vanuatu and other countries are reaching the victims. However, further assistance is still needed. AAR Japan will continue to gather information and provide relief assistance.

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Fukuro KAKIZAWA, AAR Tokyo Office 
KAKIZAWA has been in charge of Afghanistan and Pakistan operations at AAR Japan Tokyo Headquarters from May 2013. He also engaged in emergency assistance for Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines in 2013. He is 34 years old.  (Profile as of the date of the article)

Japanese-English translation by Ms. Keiko Machida
English editing by name withheld by request

The article on this page has been translated by volunteers as part of the AAR Japan's Volunteer Programme. Their generous contributions allow us to spread our activities and ideas globally, through an ever-growing selection of our reports from the field.