Cyclone Harold has ripped through Vanuatu and now Fiji, leaving both countries severely damaged. Starting off as a category 5 cyclone in Vanuatu, the damage is most devastating here with 27 people said to have died from the storm during rough seas. Category 5 cyclones are the worst on the scale and create the most damage, loss of life and months/ years of work to rebuild the country. Reaching Fiji at a category 4, cyclone Harold has caused significant damage here also.
IVI have been monitoring the current cyclone situation in Vanuatu and Fiji and checking in with our teams who are currently safe. We are preparing volunteer teams to assist with the cyclone relief as soon as travel is a possibility again, so please contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to help.
In Vanuatu, the North of the island was the most badly hit, with reports saying there may be 50% of homes destroyed in some places and phone lines cut throughout the country, as well as flooding. Homes have been completely flattened, animals have been trapped under fallen trees, roads have been blocked and crops ruined. On top of this the local people are also having to deal with job losses due to COVID-19.
Photo credit: Charles Bice, Rak Naicker and Jotham Napat
IVI are currently speaking with Red Cross in Port Villa, Vanuatu, and discussing the best ways we can help the local people. We also work with Red Cross on our disaster relief program in Fiji. Volunteers can help in any way they can, whether that’s medical help, distributing vital supplies or helping to clear debris and repair damaged buildings.
The damage could take a year plus to rebuild and will be ongoing, so if you are interested in helping, we will be taking volunteers to help, once the travel bans have been lifted. We are aiming for June/July, whilst monitoring the current global situation closely. If you are interested in helping out the people of Vanuatu and Fiji in the upcoming months, then please do get in contact with us directly at email@example.com.
Photo credit: Brice Yonesco
In other more positive news, we are currently working with a mother and son team who have set up a sailing boat trip to Northern Vanuatu, to provide health checks on the remote islands. They have a Facebook page for the sailing aspect of their business and images of the naturopathic group who visited in 2018. IVI will be setting up a nutrition and public health/medical project, in conjunction with this, aiming for late this year (we hope!). We are in the early stages of setting up this project but would love to hear from those interested, so please contact us for further info!
We hope that the current situation globally will soon pass and that all our volunteers are staying safe and well. As soon as things start getting back to normal, we will welcome anyone with a desire to help those less fortunate- we will get through this together, stronger and united.