World Vision welcomes Australian Government action on Cyclone Pam

Humanitarian agency World Vision welcomes the Australian Government’s initial package of aid to Vanuatu, announced Sunday 15 March, in the wake of devastating damage caused by Cyclone Pam.

“This has been a devastating cyclone for Vanuatu, so swift assistance of this nature is a very welcome commitment,” said World Vision chief executive Tim Costello.

He also thanked the Australian Government for assisting in the transport of World Vision disaster specialists to Vanuatu.

The initial package of government aid will include:

  • $5 million to assist the efforts of Australian non-government organisations, the Red Cross and United Nations partners;
  • the deployment of humanitarian supplies from Australia to assist up to 5000 people, including water and sanitation and shelter kits;
  • the deployment of an Australian medical team and an urban search and rescue team; the deployment of a DFAT Crisis response team, comprising eight officials to boost consular support to Australian citizens and coordinate Australia’s humanitarian assistance; and
  • the deployment of an Australian disaster expert to the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination team.

The full extent of loss of life and damage on Vanuatu remains unknown, with grave fears held for people sheltering on remote islands.

“We’ve heard that whole villages have been blown away,” said Chloe Morrison, World Vision’s Emergency Communications Officer in Vanuatu. “The homes have been completely flattened. They’re just piles of timber, just totally decimated. The wind was so strong it just blew away huge chunks of debris.

“People have been shocked by how devastating and how terrifying it was. Vanuatu is one of the most disaster-prone areas in the world, and yet this still shocked them. But there was also relief. They’ve lost everything – their home and everything in it – but they’re just relieved they’re okay.”

World Vision pre-positioned relief goods in Port Vila, Santo Island, and Tanna Island. Items include tarps, tools for repairs, water containers, mosquito nets, hygiene kits, baby kits, and kitchen sets. Early warnings throughout the week urged communities to evacuate to local storm shelters, and in preparation for the cyclone season, many communities also participated in disaster-preparedness workshops with World Vision. The workshops taught communities how to map natural disasters, plan evacuation routes, and learn valuable search and rescue skills.

World Vision has been working in Vanuatu since 1981 and currently has projects across six provinces.

To donate to World Vision Australia’s Disaster Ready call 13 32 40 or visit

For interviews with World Vision staff in Vanuatu, contact:

  • Stuart Rintoul on +61 (0) 407 241 492 or 
  • Kayla Robertson: +61 (0) 418 762 926 or

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