Cyclone Pam Devastates Vanuatu
Cyclone Has Huge Impact on Saints in Vanuatu
In March 2015, Vanuatu was struck by Cyclone Pam, crippling the country’s infrastructure and damaging 90% of its buildings. Considered to be the worst natural disaster Vanuatu has ever seen, the Category 5 cyclone quickly made it into the list as one of the top cyclones in the South Pacific with gusts up to 320km/h.
Pam naturally had a huge impact on our fellowships in Vanuatu with most housing being hut-style and building construction not made to withstand cyclonic forces. In Tana, the church meeting hall and cafe were destroyed, the church shop lost its roof and all its stock. In Port Villa the meeting hall lost its outdoor kitchen and many Saints have lost their homes and possessions in the ordeal, finding safe shelter in the Port Villa meeting hall.
Funds Already Donated
Through our Australian and New Zealand assemblies the love of the brethren has shone through, with more than $103,000 in donations pouring in. This has been a huge help to the fellowship in Vanuatu who have been able to provide food and building materials for those in need. Pastor Grant and Chris Howes have been able to meet up with Pastor Willy Rouvoune to travel around Tanna meeting up with Saints and helping them to re-build as well as any other practical needs they may have. On top of this Pastor Jeffed and Pastor Robert were able to purchase enough rice to distribute to the five Tanna fellowships over the following three months.
Moving forward the fellowship in Vanuatu plan to build new, cyclone resistant church buildings in each village. These will be fitted with water tanks and solar power for some lighting and recharging of mobile phones. There are also plans to create more self sufficiency, including cash crops such as coffee and copra and also livestock. The Tanna fellowship had also been renting the land their meeting hall, cafe and shop were built on, but now have a chance to purchase their own land to rebuild on, which is a massive blessing for the Tanna fellowship. We have also been able to fund the installation of a 6,000L rainwater tank for the church and village in Caroline Bay. In a special ceremony Leader Samuel thanked Australia & New Zealand through tears for all the love that has been shown.
NOTE: Thank you to Pastor Bob Beverly for the information provided for this article.