FAO-Belgium collaboration continues to help Vanuatu recover from Tropical Cyclone Pam

FAO-Belgium collaboration continues to help Vanuatu recover from Tropical Cyclone Pam

16/12/2015

Belgium’s USD 285 000 contribution to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) emergency programme in Vanuatu provides help to more than 4 000 families (approximately 20 000 people) in Shefa and Tafea provinces, who continue to face challenges recovering from Tropical Cyclone Pam.

With early funding in response to the disaster, FAO was able to initiate recovery activities for restoring agricultural production by distributing vegetable seeds and increasing knowledge of food production and preservation. Quality certified seeds were provided to families and school communities to help re-establish vegetable gardens destroyed by the cyclone. Seven months after the tropical cyclone – and in the face of the impending drought associated with El Niño – families in the affected provinces continue to face challenges to their food and nutrition security. These families are receiving their fourth round of food aid.

Through the Belgium-funded project, urban gardens are being established in Port Vila, with seed distributions across the capital to meet the needs of thousands. Excess produce from the gardens also provides income when sold at local markets. This activity is being coupled with:

  • Yumi Kam Tugeta (We Come Together) Sessions, where talented chefs from around Vanuatu provide simple and creative cooking ideas using fresh produce;
  • Food preservation trainings to encourage farmers to store and keep their food for longer, particularly if disasters occur, such as the anticipated El Niño drought; and
  • Nursery establishment to continue to support households to re-establish their gardens through seedling supply.

Finally, across the worst-affected provinces of Shefa and Tafea, many families have seen their income sources (such as trees) destroyed, and have limited capacity to build back their forests. The FAO-Belgium project provides agricultural inputs such as sandalwood, whitewood or mahogany seedlings, and provides training and guidance to raise these trees successfully.

Belgium remains a top donor to the FAO’s Special Fund for Emergency and Rehabilitation Activities, which enables both to rapidly respond to a crisis, financing the immediate purchase of essential agricultural inputs and to quickly launch field activities to protect livelihoods and safeguard food security and nutrition.