Emergency Appeal for children caught in Cyclone Harold's path of destruction
Category 5 Cyclone Harold has already killed 27 people in the neighbouring Solomon Islands. Now 235km winds have destroyed homes and food supplies in Vanuatu, and the storm is headed to Fiji tonight.
"Flights are grounded due to COVID-19 and medical supplies are limited. Phone lines are down, roofs have blown off houses and buildings destroyed."
The storm has left debris littering the ground, destroyed homes and collapsed buildings. Whilst the local community comes to terms with the COVID-19 lockdown they now face the threat of the virus without shelter, food, or soap and water.
Our teams are assessing the situation and are on standby. Children desperately need your help now to get urgent shelter and sanitation supplies.
This disaster could not have come at a worse time for our Pacific Island neighbour. Like us, they are in a state of emergency, fighting their own battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. Children are extremely vulnerable right now and need your help.
A State of Emergency was declared by Vanuatu's President on March 26th in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but there has been indication that the TC Harold response may see a change to the government's state of emergency. So far, Vanuatu has not reported any cases of COVID-19.
Save the Children NZ Chief Executive Heidi Coetzee said, “The COVID-19 tragedy has affected many lives, and as always, children are the most vulnerable in crisis situations. Our international staff are working on the ground to assess what’s needed to prepare for landfall of the cyclone and how we can best assist. We’re expecting that people's houses will be destroyed, their crops will be wiped out, heavy flooding will contaminate their water. It could be an unprecedented humanitarian response.”
“The risk is that if everyone needs to congregate together in shelters or churches, those that unknowingly have COVID-19 will pass it to those close them. This could see COVID-19 spread like wildfire through the community. Also, with all the stress and trauma caused by the cyclone, domestic violence may see an increase in the weeks following.”
Kali in front of the remains of his home, destroyed by the last Category 5 Cyclone to hit Vanuatu in 2015, Cyclone Pam.