Team restore hope in Vanuatu
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 email@example.com.
Robyn Gulliver, Nicolas Gravier and Simon Jones on a Vanuatu beach.