Britain donates £2m to cyclone-struck Vanuatu

2015-03-14 22:26
Residents look through storm damage caused by Cyclone Pam, in the Vanuatu capital of Port Vila. (Unicef Pacific, AFP)

Residents look through storm damage caused by Cyclone Pam, in the Vanuatu capital of Port Vila. (Unicef Pacific, AFP)

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London - Britain will donate £2m to help Vanuatu recover from a cyclone that slammed into the South Pacific island nation, a minister announced on Saturday.

The assistance follows a plea for help from the president of Vanuatu, after Super Cyclone Pam caused widespread destruction and is feared to have killed dozens in one of the region's worst weather disasters.

"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," said British International Development Secretary Justine Greening.

"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."

There are as yet no clear numbers of deaths and injuries from the disasters, but the UN had unconfirmed reports of 44 people killed in one province and described the cyclone as "catastrophic".

Britain's department for international development said that up to £1m would be immediately available to UN bodies and aid agencies active in the region.

A further £1m was to be available through Britain's Rapid Response Facility - a funding body which provides emergency help for humanitarian disasters through pre-approved aid partners.

The category five storm hit Vanuatu late on Friday with gusts of up to 320km an hour, limiting communications and leaving aid agencies scrambling to assess the damage.

 

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