Vanuatu Daily News Digest | 29 March 2015

The Vanuatu Opposition Leader heads today’s Daily Post news with a hate message towards the Prime Minister for not taking Shepherds elected MPs on his flight to their smashed constituency islands. With shipping having been in to the Shepherds since shortly after the cyclone one can only wonder what the people’s representatives referred to were still doing in the capital. And why they were not in their communities anyway. Is it no longer required to be a resident of a community in order to be elected by it?

Carcasses continues to abuse the National Disaster Management Office concerning management of aid supplies. "There are no guarantees that any shipment will be received by to whom it is being consigned." He also uncharitably and without evidence understands "a lot of relief was sent to Tafea through Tanna," which would be quite normal anyway. He hopes it will not only be distributed to Natuman and VP supporters.

The generosity of the world continues to amaze and extends beyond the Australia, New Zealand and France, FRANZ partners in so much on-going development assistance to Vanuatu. The Honiara based British High Commissioner, representing one element of the former colonial duopoly announced a British aid package worth VT 300 million, three RAF flights bringing in relief supplies. Britain is also distributing through Care, World Vision, Oxfam, Save the Children and Map Action.

The papers for the last couple of days continue with relief stories. HMNZS Canterbury was dealing with relief to Epi and the Shepherds, support vessels assisting. The Asian Development Bank’s $1 million grant, as part of a broader $5 million assistance package, appropriately got bid headlines.It is to be hoped this deals with any lingering resentments people feel in Vanuatu concerning the Comprehensive Reform Programme at the end of the ‘Nineties. The Vanuatu Reserve Bank board has also provided VT 40 million "to help rebuild the nation". Governor Athy commented on the VNPF (Provident Fund) release of 20% of members’ savings, pointing out how they can affect the financial sector’s liquidity profile and domestic interest rates. The United States is giving $1.4 million to assist both the Solomons and Vanuatu through the World Food Programme and Food For Peace, for immediate food security needs. Today’s paper explains France targeting especially North Tanna and Erromango and doing it with emergency response teams from New Caledonia and French Polynesia.

The Red Cross is hugely assisting relief efforts. Ten thousand people have been reached in 13 islands. CEO Jacqueline De Gaillande observed that "in the wake of the cyclone, communities immediately rallied together to clean up and begin rebuilding. The Red Cross is supporting some of the worst hit communities by providing urgently needed shelter materials, essential household items and clean drinking water… The logistics of delivering aid to an affected population across 22 islands is incredibly challenging." Indeed it is. But in Vanuatu it is happening. Red Cross is helping mightily, but above all communities are working together as CEO De Gaillande has observed.