Firstly, thank you all for your support and prayers for Nasi Tuan's staff and communities. We still don't have any news from anyone on Tanna, as the cellphone networks are all down and are likely to be for some time. However, we do know from fly-by reports that most local houses and structures on Tanna were destroyed, and that access to clean water is a major problem already. There have been reports of fatalities on Tanna, but information is very vague and there is nothing to confirm these reports as yet. We just don't know what the Nasi Tuan staff are dealing with. However, here are some things we can assume:
Most people in our communities will now be homeless.
Most of the crops that people live on will be wiped out. After heavy rains, even root crops like kumara will rot in the ground due to waterlogged soil. Post-hurricane, a normal activity will be to pull all these crops up as quickly as possible. Everyone will be salvaging what they can before food becomes very scarce.
Coffee crops will probably be wiped out. It is nearly harvest time, so before Pam hit, the trees would have been laden with nearly ripe fruit. This means that the bulk of the years income for most people has now disappeared. Other cash crops will also have been affected.
There are probably some injuries, and sickness will also easily spread through communities, especially as a lot of water sources will have been contaminated.
So what can Nasi Tuan offer in this pretty bleak looking situation?
We don't know what it looks like over there right now, but we do know these things
Nasi Tuan is a local organisation, and therefore is already mobilised, in that our staff and volunteer team are on the ground and in the midst of it. They belong to the communities they work with, and although we don't know if they are injured or able, if they have the capacity they will already be assessing needs and evaluating damage.
Nasi Tuan staff and volunteers recently completed a week long training course in Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response. This course equipped our team to perform CPR, manage wounds, make splints, rescue victims from tricky stretches of bush, put out fires, rescue a drowning person from a flooded river, and much more. Most importantly, they learnt to keep calm, take control, and work together to help in a disaster or emergency situation. These skills may be proving very useful right now.
Recovery from Pam is going to demand short and long term agricultural solutions. Nasi Tuan has a particular focus on agriculture, and the staff team has specialist knowledge and training in this area. They will be ready to get started.
Andrew is flying to Vila today (Monday) and will hopefully be in Tanna by tomorrow (Tuesday). He is travelling with Alice from TEARfund, who are supporting and equipping Nasi Tuan in the recovery operation. We will try our best to keep you all updated with what is happening over there.
In the meantime, if you wanted to support the recovery work, you could either donate from NZ through the Vanuatu Community Trust (non-tax deductible)- http://www.nasituan.org/vct.html
or through the TEARfund appeal -