Christian World Service launched an appeal on Sunday for the people of Vanuatu in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Pam.
The money raised will go to local people providing food, water, healthcare, emergency shelter and non-food items in the short term. In the weeks ahead the focus will shift to rebuilding homes and livelihoods wrecked by the category 5 storm. Through local churches, people will offer psycho-social/pastoral support. The priority is to help vulnerable people and those living in isolated communities.
CWS is working closely with the Anglican and Presbyterian Churches in New Zealand, ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together) members and Vanuatu churches.
“Churches are present throughout the country. They are well-positioned to know who needs help and what is required. Tropical Cyclone Pam has stripped land and infrastructure but it is vital that the relief effort gives priority to the local people so as not to strip them of the means to recover,” says Pauline McKay, National Director.
“If people are prepared and have strong communities they look out for each other when such disasters strike. With climate change, disasters are getting bigger so it is important to invest in community resilience,” she adds.
Yesterday Geoff Robinson of ACT Alliance in Australia spoke with a man who saw two people die before his eyes. The man recalled: ‘During the height of the cyclone, an older woman and a teenager were killed by flying sheets of iron as they ran to a building after their house was torn apart.’
Fallen food crops will keep people alive for the next few days but will quickly rot in the heat. Clean and safe water is also vital for people’s survival. With gardens and farms destroyed, people will need help in the months ahead. Food security is one of CWS’s key priorities.
ACT Alliance members have been supporting Vanuatu churches to prepare for disaster but Tropical Cyclone Pam has been bigger than previous disasters. With communications down throughout much of the country, coordinated local response is more difficult. ACT Alliance is galvanizing global support to help Vanuatu rebuild.
Donations to the Vanuatu Cyclone Appeal can be made:• On line and by direct deposit• By Phone with a credit card: 0800 74 73 72• By Post to: CWS, PO Box 22652, Christchurch 8140
Christian World Service has been doing a world of good since 1945. It works with local groups in 20 countries who are making change happen so people can live a life free from poverty. CWS is a member of the ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together), a global coalition of more than 140 churches and church related organisations that work together in the areas of humanitarian assistance, advocacy and community development in 140 countries.
18 March 2015