Team re­store hope in Van­u­atu

Pilbara News - - Lifestyle - Robyn Gul­liver

Af­ter the Kar­ratha En­viro Group’s suc­cess­ful trip to Nepal to in­stall so­lar pan­els for a pri­mary school, two mem­bers of the group have ven­tured afield again to vol­un­teer in Van­u­atu.

They went to help with the clean-up af­ter the dev­as­ta­tion of cat­e­gory 5 Cy­clone Pam.

Schools, houses, in­fras­truc­ture and peo­ple across the is­lands of Van­u­atu are still in re­cov­ery six months af­ter Pam hit.

The small team joined Vol­un­teer Van­u­atu, a lo­cal or­gan­i­sa­tion ded­i­cated to pro­vid­ing sup­port and as­sis­tance to those in need.

Vol­un­teer Van­u­atu have been op­er­at­ing for a num­ber of years, but post-cy­clone is fo­cus­ing on as­sist­ing schools that were heav­ily dam­aged and in­stalling wa­ter sys­tems across the is­lands.

The En­viro Group team were lucky enough to firstly spend a week at a pri­mary school plas­ter­ing, paint­ing and do­ing touch-up con­struc­tion work to en­able chil­dren to move out of the UNICEF tents they had been study­ing in for the past six months.

Funds from char­i­ta­ble or­gan­i­sa­tions across New Zealand and Aus­tralia had been raised to pay for the new roof­ing on four class­rooms in just one of more than 300 schools in the na­tion that were dam­aged by the cy­clone.

The sec­ond week was spent as­sist­ing with the in­stal­la­tion of a wa­ter sys­tem on Nguna Is­land.

With chang­ing rain­fall pat­terns due to cli­mate change, and the grow­ing ef­fect of this year’s dry and hot El Nino weather sys­tem, many vil­lages across the South Pa­cific are suf­fer­ing heav­ily from drought, and al­ready the death toll is in­creas­ing.

Luck­ily for Utan­langi Vil­lage, the New Zealand High Com­mis­sion had pro­vided funds to Vol­un­teer Van­u­atu to pay for new wa­ter tanks and pipes to con­nect with a spring.

Many is­lands are des­per­ate for wa­ter, so this project was of huge im­por­tance to the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

While dig­ging 2km of trenches by hand might not be ev­ery­one’s idea of a hol­i­day, the re­sults will stay with the team for a life­time.

The ex­pe­ri­ence of see­ing wa­ter de­liv­ered to al­most-empty tanks for the first time in six months and the life-and-death dif­fer­ence this made to the vil­lagers was pro­found, es­pe­cially in con­trast to our ap­pre­ci­a­tion of our world-class wa­ter sup­ply sys­tems.

The Kar­ratha En­viro Group is look­ing to fund fur­ther wa­ter sup­ply projects on the is­lands of Van­u­atu. To con­trib­ute or get more in­for­ma­tion con­tact Robyn at kcaen­viro@gmail.com.

Pic­ture: Robyn Gul­liver

Robyn Gul­liver, Nicolas Gravier and Si­mon Jones on a Van­u­atu beach.

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