After Tropical Cyclone Pam struck the island of Vanuatu only a few days ago, the country will be ready to receive superyachts and tourists again within a month, according to Vanuatu Yacht Services.
Clare, Barkhuizen of Vanuatu Yacht Services commented, “Vanuatu is a large country with big islands, and although there is damage, we are convinced that with the support of the global aid agencies, such as Red Cross and the countries who have pledged to help, that Vanuatu will be ready to receive superyachts and tourists within a month. The outer island communities who provide the backbone of the cruising opportunities for superyachts will be delighted to receive superyachts.
“Presently we are working to raise enough funds to rebuild the homes of our Ni-Vanuatu staff and their extended family. It is critical that people have adequate water and comfort and can return to work so they can support their families. Schools are working hard to rebuild so that they can reopen and children can resume their schooling and establish some routine and normality.”
Although several islands within the archipelago experienced the full force of the cyclone, Vanuatu is made up of over 82 islands which are spread out over 500nm from north to south, and many of these Islands escaped with little to no damage from the largest cyclone ever recorded in the area.
Clare explained, “We are OK. The capital of Port Vila experienced 300 km winds and many houses have been destroyed. Most of our staff (over 12 families) have been left with broken homes and are in a desperate plight. We have had some of our clients and friends offer to help financially support the rebuilding of our team’s homes. Right now we have provided food and temporary solutions like tarpaulins and nails, and are completing a materials list so we can prepare to buy the building supplies needed.”
Parts of the marina and many yachts and boats were also subject to severe damage. Claire continued, “Our facility at the Port Vila Boatyard incurred minor damage and all the vessels that were stored in the hardstand at the Port Vila Boatyard and on our moorings were unscathed. Unfortunately, the majority of boats, yachts, fishing vessels, etc. that were in the harbour have sunk or run aground with severe damage.
However, according to Clare, many expats are staying on to rebuild their businesses and volunteer. She explained, “I know that some of the fishing and diving operators have already ordered new boats and everyone is getting on to keep the economy thriving.
“The people of Vanuatu are so grateful that there wasn’t more loss of life and are all hard at work clearing debris, sawing trees and rebuilding homes. The positive attitude, self-sufficiency, community values and work ethic of the Ni-Vanuatu is truly remarkable and admirable. I’d say the biggest story is how incredibly resilient and upbeat the people of this amazing archipelago are.”
Vanuatu Yacht Services has started an official campaign to raise funds for the rebuilding of homes. To make a donation or for more information, visit www.gofundme.com/pdo8kk.
For more information on the company, visit Vanuatu Yacht Services.