March 19, 2015

ADRA Brings Soap and Water to Vanuatu Evacuees


The Adventist Development and Relief Agency is playing a key role in securing the health and sanitation in 10 of the 20 evacuation centers in the capital of the cyclone-devastated South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu.

The number of latrines in the evacuation centers is inadequate, with as many as 300 people using one toilet.

ADRA is providing hygiene information sessions in 10 evacuation centers. Field staff members have distributed hygiene supplies to families in the centers, including soap and other prepositioned materials.

“Ensuring good hygiene is critical following a disaster like this,” said Mark le Roux, ADRA’s country director for Vanuatu. “Disease can spread quickly and with health services already stretched the situation can turn deadly.”

Read related story: “4 Adventist Churches Destroyed in Vanuatu Cyclone”

ADRA’s plan of action includes installing additional latrines, building temporary bathing facilities, and holding hygiene seminars daily.

ADRA also has made plumbed water available at nine evacuation centers in Port Vila.

The country is struggling to come to grips after Tropical Cyclone Pam flattened many populated areas on Saturday. At least 11 people died.

ADRA has deployed a team of volunteers to help with cleanup efforts in Port Vila. Although a power outage continues, the weather has remained clear, allowing residents to start cleaning up and gathering what is left of their homes.

Logistical issues in response to the Cyclone Pam’s devastation are hampering the ability to respond on other islands.

“Communication between the islands is still down,” le Roux said. “We still don’t have a good picture of the cyclone’s impact on many of the islands.”

ADRA International has set up an emergency response fund to help the people of Vanuatu. Canadian readers can contribute here.