Cyclone Harold has impacted approximately 160,000 people; 50% of the population of Vanuatu. It registered as a category 5 cyclone, which is the most severe rating and only given to cyclones that are extremely dangerous and cause widespread destruction.
It has decimated large areas of land on a number of islands, destroying buildings and vegetation and has left tens of thousands of people without homes, clean water, food and livelihoods. Luganville is the second largest town in Vanuatu and has had 70% of the buildings damaged. Islands including Malo, Maewo, Ambae, Pentecost and Santo sustained damage. Recovery may take years and cost millions and millions of dollars.
Impact of Cyclone Harold on GMP Partners:
The impact of Cyclone Harold is still being assessed but it is clear that there is major damage on Santo and Pentecost. Homes and community buildings have been blown apart, and the extent of the damage is still unknown.
We have been trying to make contact with all our partners in Vanuatu and have received the following information.
Londua / Bombua School:
Our partner, Principal Peter Bryant from Londua (on Santo), reports:
"Most of the school was damaged. The only buildings left standing was the new one that GMP built last year (it lost its veranda) and the original Bombua School building. This building had the cement for the planned new buildings in it, so we are thankful that it wasn’t damaged and the cement is safe. And all of the structures that had been started for the new classrooms etc. are still standing, as well as the office."
Churches of Christ Conference Vanuatu (CCCV Luganville, Santo).
We are grateful to God that all the staff of CCCV are safe. We are glad to hear also that the CCCV offices and buildings are mainly unharmed.
We are seeking news about the people from Ambae sheltering on Santo.
We are also aware of significant damage to Ranwadi High School and also to the communities in Southern Pentecost.
Churches of Christ is represented on the Churches Working Group, part of the work of the Vanuatu Christian Council. They are liaising with the Government and planning what can be done.
We will continue to update you as we receive news from our partners.
Churches of Christ Overseas Aid has launched an emergency appeal for Vanuatu. Funds raised for the appeal will be used to support the recovery of our partner communities and programs. We will update how the funds are being directed as further information on what is needed becomes available. If you would like to learn more about the appeal, or support the recovery of our partners visit www.gmp.org.au/CycloneHarold