Vanuatu (Cyclone Pam) Initial Appeal

March 18, 2015



Tropical Cyclone Pam, a Category-5 storm, hit the island nation of Vanuatu on March 13, causing wide-spread damage. At least 24 people died. The number of deaths is expected to rise as further reports are received from Vanuatu’s chain of 80 islands.

Though the entire country has been affected, there is particular concern for the southern-most islands of Tafea Province and the northern islands of Sanma, Penama and Torba provinces.

A state of emergency has been declared for Shefa Province, which includes the capital Port Vila, and is likely to be expanded to other disaster-affected provinces once assessments are completed in the coming days.

Early UN estimates indicate that up to 90 percent of structures are either damaged or destroyed in Efate alone, with more than 3,300 people staying in 37 evacuation centers.

Aid flights are beginning to reach the capital. But there are enormous challenges in coordinating the transportation and distribution of relief supplies across the archipelago’s 80 islands. To date, radio and telephone communication with the country’s outer iIslands are yet to be re-connected.

Access to shelter, food and clean water remain critical priorities for relief agencies. With the significant loss of housing and infrastructure across the country, including schools and health facilities, an estimated 200,000 people — some 80 percent of the total population — are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance.


CWS is supporting the efforts of Act for Peace, an ACT Alliance member, which is working through the Vanuatu Christian Council.

Act for Peace is focusing its work on locales where it has a strong presence — 78 communities in Ambrym, Malekula, Tongoa, Efate, Tanna and Aneityum.

These communities have already participated in community-based disaster risk management programs.

Through the Vanuatu Church Partnership, up to six local churches and the Vanuatu Church Council will be involved in disaster risk reduction activities as part of recovery and reconstruction programs.

The CWS-supported Act for Peace work will focus on food, water, and non-food distribution, as well as repair of water supply systems and upgrading evacuation centers.


The initial overall budget for the Act for Peace program is $600,000, including program costs for food, water, non-food items, water rehabilitation and community-based disaster risk reduction programs.

This is an initial appeal. The appeal may be expanded as further needs arise.


Contributions to support CWS emergency response efforts may be made online, sent to your denomination or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515.  For the Vanuatu-Cyclone Pam appeal, please indicate #700-S