Cyclone Pam hit the South Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu on 13 March with wind speeds of up to 320 km/h. The tropical storm damaged the archipelago’s entire infrastructure, including the electricity and water supply, and claimed at least 11 lives. The Federal Foreign Office has made around 240,000 euros available for emergency measures.
The extent of the destruction caused by cyclone Pam in the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu is only gradually becoming apparent. Many of the country’s buildings were destroyed and the electricity and water supply has been cut off. Over 3000 people are currently living in emergency shelters. Moreover, Vanuatu’s agriculture has been especially badly hit: a large part of the harvest was destroyed, which is impairing food supplies. Other island states in the region, including Kiribati and Tuvalu, have also been severely affected by the devastating impact of the cyclone.
Focus of efforts on food supply
The Federal Foreign Office is providing around 240,000 euros in emergency measures for the affected islands in the region. These measures will be implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, which is already represented in the region with a climate protection programme. The money will primarily be used to shore up the food supply.
The Federal Government also makes funds available each year to the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which was set up specifically to provide humanitarian aid in case of natural disasters and similar events. The Federal Foreign Office paid 20 million euros into CERF at the beginning of 2015.
Last but not least, the European Union (EU) is also active in the region. Together with Australia and New Zealand, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) has so far provided around five million euros for humanitarian aid in Vanuatu.
Vanuatu and Germany enjoy amicable political relations. Diplomatic contacts are maintained via the German Embassy in Canberra. Germany mainly supports economic, social and cultural development in…