SENDAI, Japan (March 18, 2015) — Cyclone Pam has not only wrought unprecedented damage in Vanuatu but also lent urgency to World Vision’s calls for leaders gathered at the World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in Sendai, Japan to prioritize the needs of children when tackling disaster risks.
Emergency shelter and logistics staff deployed by World Vision are among those who arrived on Tanna Island in Vanuatu on Tuesday as part of an international mobilization of aid workers to assist the cyclone hit nation.
They joined hard-pressed country-based team members who are struggling to respond to the needs of survivors following Cyclone Pam. The cyclone disrupted power, water, and telecommunications and damaged buildings — 11 people have been reported killed and 3,300 are now displaced.
Meanwhile, World Vision’s director of disaster risk reduction, Richard Rumsey, is in Sendai attending the WCDRR conference, said the cyclone must serve as a wake-up call of the critical need to build resilience against natural disasters and in particular to prioritize the needs of children.
“The loss of life and destruction wrought by Cyclone Pam underscores a simple but significant point. The threats posed by disasters are on the rise, and it’s children who are disproportionately affected when disasters happen,” said Rumsey. “Leaders gathered in Sendai for the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction must not let Cyclone Pam’s calamitous lesson go to waste. Instead, it should galvanize action to ensure children’s unique needs and perspectives are included in disaster risk reduction planning.”
World Vision’s country director in Vanuatu, Michael Wolfe, echoed those concerns: “We are deeply worried about how communities, and especially children, have been impacted by this cyclone. The cyclone hit all of the islands, many of which are remote, low-lying and extremely vulnerable. Experience tells us children are especially at risk to the secondary impacts of a cyclone, including hunger following crop devastation and trauma – both physical and psychological.”
World Vision said initial surveys have been carried out in Vanuatu’s capital Port Vila area. Such was the devastation that aid agencies fear the worst for other remote inhabited islands among the 82 in the island chain where people chiefly live in thatched homes with few solid buildings to evacuate to.
Relief goods such as tarpaulins, tools for repairs, water containers, mosquito nets, hygiene kits, baby kits, and kitchen sets were already positioned on some of those islands by World Vision in readiness for such an emergency.
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The Hyogo Framework for Action 2:
The Hyogo Framework for Action was the first plan to detail the work required to reduce disaster losses. It was developed and agreed on by governments, international agencies, disaster experts and others following the 2004 South Asia Tsunami. The Hyogo Framework for Action 2, being decided at the World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction, will look to build upon the progress made in the first framework by tackling the underlying factors that intensify risks during disasters. Find out more.
About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization conducting relief, development, and advocacy activities in its work with children, families, and their communities in nearly 100 countries to help them reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit www.WorldVision.org/media-center/ or on Twitter @WorldVisionUSA.
- Cyclone Pam’s devastation in Vanuatu must serve as a wake-up call of the critical need to build resilience against natural disasters and in particular to prioritize the needs of children.
- World Vision is attending the World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan and pressing its case there.