Britain has sent vital shelter and relief supplies to help people whose lives have been devastated by Cyclone Pam, International Development Secretary Justine Greening announced.
A Royal Air Force C-17 transport plane departed from RAF Brize Norton early on Monday 16 March and will travel to the Royal Australian Air Force base at Amberley in Australia, where it will join the international relief effort.
The plane is carrying 1,640 shelter kits for use by families of five people and more than 1900 solar lanterns with inbuilt mobile phone chargers. These supplies will help to provide protection to some of the most vulnerable people affected by the cyclone, especially women and children.
A humanitarian expert from the Department for International Development has also been deployed to advise on distribution of the supplies and assist with field assessments as part of the international relief effort.
The C-17 and its crew will remain in Australia for several days to undertake further support flights between Australia and affected areas as required.
Justine Greening said:
The terrible effects of Cyclone Pam are now clear and many people are in urgent need of relief.
The Royal Air Force’s swift and invaluable support will ensure victims of the cyclone get the help they need to start putting their lives back together.
Families’ homes have been destroyed and power supplies are down. Our emergency shelter kits and solar lanterns will help meet people’s basic needs and Britain stands ready to assist further.
All commercial flights in and out of Port Vila have been grounded, with only military planes able to land.
On Saturday 14 March, following a request from the Government of Vanuatu, Britain made up to £1 million available to UN organisations and international aid agencies in the region. The UK will also send an additional £1 million through the UK’s Rapid Response Facility, which provides emergency support via pre-approved organisations in the event of a humanitarian disaster overseas.