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Cyclone Harold passes Vanuatu A photo made available by MAXAR Technologies shows a satellite image of Santo Pekoa international airport on Espiritu Santo Island, Vanuatu, after category-5 cyclone Harold passed.  (ANSA)

UN offers humanitarian aid to Vanuatu following cyclone Harold

Following a cyclone that struck the region last week, the United Nations is offering humanitarian assistance to Vanuatu and other southern Pacific countries.

By Vatican News

The United Nations has released $2.5 million from its emergency humanitarian fund on Monday to help thousands of people in the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu affected by Cyclone Harold. The UN has also offered support to other countries hit by the storm.

Cyclone Harold made landfall on the largest island in Vanuatu, Espiritu Santo, on April 6 before hitting the Solomon Islands, Fiji and Tonga.

Deep solidarity

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Sunday that Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed “deep solidarity with the people of the Pacific as they face the impact of this cyclone along with other climate-related challenges, as well as the coronavirus pandemic, which adds a worrying new dimension to existing vulnerabilities.”

Urgent needs

The release of emergency funds was announced by Mark Lowcock, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator and the Head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. He said, “Thousands of people urgently need shelter, water and food to survive.” He praised the government and first responders for ensuring people were safe before the storm and meeting immediate needs immediately after. But Lowcock said: “As the extent of the destruction becomes clear, this U.N. funding will ensure aid supplies are maintained and reach the people who need it.”

Vanuatu is an island nation of almost 300,000 people. The archipelago is located in the South Pacific, about 1700 kilometres east of northern Australia. 

14 April 2020, 12:39