Tropical Cyclone Pam Vanuatu - Executive brief 23 March 2015

Tropical Cyclone Pam Vanuatu - Executive brief 23 March 2015
Mar 2015

Highlights

  • On 13 March, Tropical Cyclone Pam caused severe damage to agriculture (crops, fisheries, livestock and forestry)
    in Vanuatu’s six provinces, posing an immediate and long-term threat to food security. Tafea is the worst affected province, followed by Shefa, Penama, Malampa, Torba and Sanma.
  • Around 80 percent of the population relies on agriculture for their livelihood. Cash crops and agriculture exports have
    also been heavily affected.
  • Damages, according to preliminary observations and initial rapid assessments (21 March):
    - Fully damaged plants: banana, all fruit trees, coconuts, yam and soft yams,
    - Partially damaged plants: taro, manioc, strong yams and kumala,
    - Livestock losses: chickens, pigs, pens and shelters,
    - Fisheries damage/losses: canoes, small boats, fishing gear and infrastructure.
  • In all provinces, much of the population will be without local staple food supply from the end of March until at least
    mid-June when fast-growing crops can be harvested if replanting starts immediately.
  • Affected families urgently need food and agricultural assistance – including seeds, planting material and farming
    equipment – to avoid food shortages and quickly replant crops.
  • Preparedness measures undertaken by the Government are helping to reduce the impact of this disaster. FAO is
    supporting government-led efforts, working closely with the Vanuatu Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity) and co-leading the national Food Security and Agriculture Cluster.
    - Initial response efforts of the Food Security and Agriculture Cluster include:
    - Communication with communities: agricultural messages delivered pre- and post-cyclone
    - Assessments: participating in all Initial Rapid Assessments and commencing in-depth agricultural assessments
    - Planning of domestic planting material exchange: from less affected islands to more affected islands
    - Agricultural input package: procurement of local seed supply and stocktaking of regional seed stocks for import
    - Food distribution guidelines: distribution through community committees.
  • A Flash Appeal will be launched this week to support ongoing response operations, for a three-month period.
  • Even at this early stage, hand in hand with relief efforts, FAO is working closely with the government to lay a
    foundation for longer-term recovery and more resilient livelihoods.