MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is preparing initial assistance to support the government and people of Vanuatu after Tropical Cyclone Pam caused deaths and widespread damage across the South Pacific archipelago over the weekend, ADB President Takehiko Nakao announced yesterday.
“I offer my deepest condolences to the people of Vanuatu for the devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Pam,” Mr. Nakao wrote in a letter delivered to President of Republic of Vanuatu, Baldwin Lonsdale.
“ADB stands ready to help Vanuatu’s post-cyclone recovery and reconstruction.”
Tropical Cyclone Pam also caused damage in some neighboring countries in the region including Tuvalu, Kiribati, and Solomon Islands.
Mr. Nakao pledged ADB’s full support to all countries affected by the cyclone, both in the immediate aftermath of the disaster and in subsequent rehabilitation and reconstruction work.
ADB’s initial package of assistance amounting to $5 million will come from its Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund and other fund sources for relief and initial reconstruction work in Vanuatu.
ADB will work with the Government of Vanuatu and other development partners to conduct an immediate needs assessment to identify and agree on the most urgent and important assistance required.
The Government of Vanuatu has declared a state of emergency for Shefa province, which takes in the country’s capital Port Vila on Efate Island, as relief workers assess the damage caused by Tropical Cyclone Pam.
Initial estimates have indicated that up to 90% of structures were either damaged or destroyed on Efate. The Category 5 cyclone tore through the archipelago on the evening of 13 March, with sustained winds of up to 250 kilometers per hour.