Editor’s Comment: “Prioritising education is certainly the way to maintain forward movement for Vanuatu in the post-post-Pam period. This is one of the few places in the world where authorities truly look further ahead than the next election, keeping the overall good of the country and her people in mind.”
Originally aired on Dateline Pacific, Thursday 2 April 2015
The Vanuatu minister of climate change has opened a meeting of donor countries and international agencies to discuss the country’s rehabilitation program following Cyclone Pam.
The Vanuatu Minister of Climate Change this morning officially opened the first meeting of donor countries and international agencies to discuss the country’s rehabilitation program three weeks after Pam.
Minister James Bule told our Vanuatu correspondent in Port Vila, Hilaire Bule, the government has begun carrying out its assessment of the damage to public infrastructure across all islands affected by the cyclone.
JAMES BULE: After the cyclone struck we had the emergency relief supplies that we dealt with up until now, it’s almost three weeks now since we had the first rollout after the first assessment. 160,000 people were affected by this cyclone and about 3,000 households that have been affected, some of which have been completely wiped out. Then we had also schools, dispensaries, hospitals and some government offices that have been affected. We are now planning the next rollout of the humanitarian relief supplies. We are now looking at the second phase — the rehabilitation stage through reconstruction of buildings, public infrastructure like roads and bridges which have been damaged by this devastating cyclone. The first meeting saw us bring in donors, other agencies, international agencies like the IMF; the World Bank, they are here and the director general is chairing the meeting and they’re looking at how this programme will be launched and carried out. We’ll have another assessment and when this is done then we’ll be sure of the extent of the damage to the buildings as to how much the government is looking at, and we need to seek assistance from foreign governments and other international agencies to support us with this endeavour.
HILAIRE BULE: What will be the priority of the government of Vanuatu in the rehabilitation programme.
JB: Well the priority of the government will be the public buildings, the schools have been really affected, some of the schools now are under tarpaulin, temporary buildings which will take some time. But we don’t really want to affect the education of the children, so that is the main priority. We’ll be looking at schools and be looking at hospitals and of course the public buildings. And we understand that the private homes too, houses have been destroyed and the government is looking at what to do, perhaps we will look at some of the companies, perhaps we will look at the companies that will infill with the low-cost housing and we will look at how we can manage to help these people who have lost their homes.