It’s been three months since cyclone Pam blew us to the ground, claiming 11 lives. Some people lived through the aftermath by imagining what life would be like three months later. Well now is three months later and the road to recovery – at least for mother nature – seems safe and sound.
So what has happened ever since?
Well for starters, the international community rushed in to our aid, helping us as far as they could. Some stayed for up to
two months. Others are still trying to help. The assessment of Pam’s damage showed that the Shepherds Islands and Tafea province were the areas that were badly affected – compared to the rest of the country.
Everyone’s attention left Vanuatu though when the 7.8 earthquake in Nepal claimed over 8800 lives on April 25. 17 days later on May 12 the aftershock claimed 117 lives.
Meanwhile, we were smiling our way to recovery. The international personnel who were on the ground in Vanuatu kept marveling at our strength and resilience – and our smiles. Even though we had been hit by a major disaster, we were still smiling and picking up the pieces. Some would not believe that we were helping each other to get back up on our feet.
By May 30th, members of the Vanuatu National Provident Fund had been blessed with the withdrawal of 20% of their life savings. These were released by the fund as a disaster relief package to help victims of Pam get back on their feet. It was appreciated by the members at large.
At this time, mother nature has recovered with unbridled fury! Everywhere is green and there is no sign of the green leaving anytime soon. We are overwhelmingly blessed by Almight God!
Over in the red roof, the former opposition bloc (currently in government) lobbied their nerves out to overthrow Natuman and his government. There were various reasons, but the majority of the population has come to accept that Natuman kicked the current PM, Sato Kilman (who was then Minister of Foreign Affairs) out because he decided on some international matters without the COM’s approval. It has become this decade’s biggest political irony then to see Sato Kilman becoming the new PM after Natuman was ousted.
An El Niño phenomenon has been declared over Vanuatu. Vanuatu’s Meteo office sprang to its paranoid knees when the international Meteo started broadcasting about the same phenomenon in PNG and Australia. They have sent out messages to broadcast, print and social media warning the population about an El Niño. That was some weeks back. We have yet to see signs of this phenomenon taking a stand and devastating us with its prowess. Nature’s irony has been blessing us with enough rain ever since the announcement was made.
Which leads to the matter of potholes in Port Vila getting ever bigger because of the rain. The Port Vila beautification project is set to begin soon, so the potholes are hoped to disappear soon – hopefully for more than one month. In the meantime, it’s cold season in Vanuatu and the Chinese shops are making a fortune selling “warm” clothes.
In sports, Vanuatu’s Amicale FC almost made it to the finals of the Oceania Cup. This was impressive especially since we were still recovering from Pam’s destruction when the tournaments happened. Now, we are hosting the Four Nations Cup, with the four participating nations including Vanuatu , Solomon Islands, New Caledonia and Fiji. PNG looks forward to participating in the next round – it being currently preoccupied with preparations for the South Pacific games from July 4 – 18, only 16 days away.
Vanuatu’s athletes and sportsmen and women, and officials are preparing to attend the games. We hope to bring in more gold this time. Unfortunately, this blog does not have an exhaustive list of what disciplines Vanuatu will be participating in.
And we sign off wishing Miller and Liline of the Vanuatu Beach Volleyball team the best of luck as they are participating in the St Petersburg Grand Slam. It started on June 16 and will end on June 21. We wish you two all the best!