In its immediate response to the devastation caused by the tropical cyclone Pam in Vanuatu, the European Commission is making available an initial €1 million to help in the emergency relief efforts. The European Commission is also sending two experts to assess the humanitarian needs and liaise with partner organisations operating on the ground.
Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission said: "We have been following the passage of typhoon Pam through Pacific. Europe stands with compassion with the families of the victims in Vanuatu and will be part of the immediate response and recovery effort".
"It is with great sadness that I learn about the tragic loss of life and scale of destruction caused by cyclone Pam. My thoughts go to the victims and their families. The European Union stands by the people of Vanuatu in this hour of need and offers its immediate assistance", said Christos Stylianides, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management. Commissioner Stylianides is in Japan to participate in the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. "This storm is a stark reminder of the gravity and urgency of the challenge facing the international community. In a world increasingly prone to natural catastrophes, we must work closer together to better prepare for and reduce the impact of such disasters."
The EU-funding will contribute towards the most urgent needs in Vanuatu, with particular emphasis on the most vulnerable victims. The assistance will be implemented through humanitarian partner organisations working on the ground and cover needs such as shelter, clean water and medicine.
The category-5 cyclone Pam hit the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu between 13 and 14 March with winds of up to 340 km/h.Considerable damage to buildings and infrastructure, including electricity and communication, has been reported. There are also reports of casualties and the number of dead is feared to increase as the extent of devastation becomes known. Vanuatu covers over 80 smaller islands in the Southern Pacific, making relief operations and assessment of the damage challenging.
Cyclone Pam strikes as the world community is gathered for a UN conference in Sendai, Japan, to complete negotiations on an international framework for disaster risk reduction.