Press release

UK provides emergency assistance in wake of Cyclone Pam

Britain provides humanitarian aid to assist recovery efforts

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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The UK will provide up to £2 million to support international relief efforts following the widespread damage caused by Cyclone Pam, International Development Secretary Justine Greening has announced.

Working closely alongside the Governments of Vanuatu, Australia and New Zealand, the Department for International Development will provide support to UN organisations and aid agencies. Many people are in need of support and girls and women will be left particularly vulnerable without urgent shelter or other vital supplies.

Following a request from the Government of Vanuatu, up to £1 million will be made immediately available to UN organisations and international aid agencies already working in the region.

An additional £1 million will be made available by the activation of the UK’s Rapid Response Facility, which provides emergency support via pre-approved organisations in the event of a humanitarian disaster overseas. This will ensure its members are able to quickly respond to people’s needs on the ground.

Justine Greening, International Development Secretary said:

All our thoughts are with the people of Vanuatu as they start to assess the full scale of this disaster.

It is already clear that there has been widespread devastation. Many families have lost their homes and power supplies, roads and other infrastructure have been left badly damaged.

Our support will ensure relief agencies can provide temporary shelters; protect vulnerable people, especially women and children; and provide emergency supplies as the country responds to this emergency.

Cyclone Pam hit the Pacific’s Vanuatu archipelago on Friday 13th March, bringing winds of 250kmph and heavy rainfall. The category 5 tropical storm has caused widespread destruction, particularly in Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu. Communication networks have been severely disrupted by power outages and much of the infrastructure system across the archipelago has been destroyed. Red weather alerts remain in place whilst international teams work to measure the full impact of the cyclone.

The Rapid Response Facility (RRF) was established in March 2012. It is a network of pre-approved specialist aid organisations and private businesses who can rapidly deliver emergency medical, water and sanitation assistance to affected people. Further information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/humanitarian-response-funding

Published 14 March 2015