One Size Doesn't Fit All: Tailoring the international response to the national need following Vanuatu's cyclone Pam

In March 2015 Vanuatu was struck by one of the worst disasters ever experienced in the Pacific. Winds gusting up to 320 km per hour destroyed homes, infrastructure, crops and livestock and left more than half the population in need of emergency assistance.

Supported by national and international actors, the Government of Vanuatu has invested substantial effort and resources in recent years in strengthening the national disaster management system. This includes a National Disaster Response Plan, a National Disaster Management Organisation with Standard Operating Procedures, a National Cyclone Support Plan, national-level humanitarian clusters, and the Vanuatu Humanitarian Team for coordinating the activities of non-government actors. These systems and structures had proved satisfactory in meeting the needs of previous, smaller-scale disasters. But Cyclone Pam was of an altogether different scale.

Through the lens of the Cyclone Pam response, and with a view to informing the Pacific Regional Consultation for the World Humanitarian Summit, this paper suggests four key areas for action to reduce vulnerability, manage risk and more effectively respond to disasters throughout the Pacific.

Published 2015-08-10

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