Haidy Geismar, UCL
As I’m sure you are all aware, last week Vanuatu was devastated by Cyclone Pam, battering the country with winds of over 270 mph. The storm knocked out the country’s telecommunications and transport infrastructure and now, just a few days later, it is estimated that more then 70% of the population are left homeless, without adequate drinking water, and without food. The long term prospects for food security are also bad as most of the garden crops that people live off have been destroyed. President Baldwin Lonsdale has announced that the storm had “wiped out” recent development and that “everything” would have to be rebuilt.
Vanuatu is the place that I have worked as an anthropologist since 2000. The places I have worked – Port Vila, Malakula, Ambrym – via the networks set in place by the Vanuatu Cultural Centre have all been either badly damaged or destroyed. What does this mean for me? It means that my responsibility is to give back as much as possible to the people that have supported me over the years.
I’m writing here to ask you to support in the first instance the emergency relief funds that have been set in place.

The Vanuatu Humanitarian (VHT) is an excellent collaboration between the Vanuatu government, National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), local NGOs and international agencies with staff already working together on the ground (Red Cross, Oxfam, CARE and others)
I am supporting a site set up by researchers and friends of Vanuatu with zero overheads. We have raised more than $20,000 to rebuild the Central Hospital in Port Vila and are now turning to support reconstruction of the Chief’s Nakamal – the centre for traditional governance and culture in Port Vila.
PLEASE PLEASE take the time to donate and broadcast this as widely as possible. A Little will go a long way.

Leave a Reply