Tropical Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu has caused devastation and tragic loss of life. Early reports indicate at least eight people have been killed and that many more have been seriously injured.
Thousands in the region are now believed to homeless, with the category-5 storm seriously damaging tens of thousands of homes in the region.
Firsthand reports paint a very distressing picture of the destruction brought upon the Vanuatuan people. The death toll and full extent of injuries and damages is expected to rise as the clean-up and humanitarian effort begins in earnest.
There has also been damage caused by other recent cyclones closer to home in the Northern Territory and Queensland.
Cyclone Lam struck Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory on 20 February causing extensive damage to homes and public buildings. Sixty dwellings were left uninhabitable and there was extensive damage to the natural environment.
On the same day Cyclone Marcia battered the Queensland coast from Yeppoon to Rockhampton. Wind damage caused property and crop losses just before annual harvests with flooding affecting areas as far inland as Biloela.
The damage across Aboriginal communities had been widespread. Cyclone Lam hit Gapuwiyak, Ramingining and Milingimbi. These already under-resourced communities need our support – pastorally and practically – to recover and rebuild.
Share has set up a joint Relief Appeal with donations for Vanuatu supporting UnitingWorld’s Cyclone Pam Appeal. Their partners in Vanuatu are currently identifying their most immediate requirements and UnitingWorld will respond accordingly.
Donations for the Northern Territory and Queensland will be forwarded to the Assembly National Disaster Relief Fund at the request of the Uniting Church President Rev Prof Andrew Dutney. Funds will provide direct financial support and targeted recovery programmes to people in the worst-hit areas.
The Uniting Church has long been committed to assisting those in need, especially during times of crisis. Please consider contributing what you can, to stand beside our neighbours and to offer the practical support they desperately need at this time.
Donations of $2 or more are tax deductible.