25th June 2015
Last Sunday marked 100 days since Cyclone Pam struck Vanuatu, causing widespread damage with wind gusts of up to 320km per hour. Although the island was hit hard by the tropical storm and the initial effects looked to have devastated this island nation, true to their strong sense of community, resilient spirit and sunny disposition, the people of Vanuatu are well on their way to recovery, with many resorts open and back in business.
The country maintained indigenous practices, holding ceremonies in villages across Vanuatu to mourn the lives, property, livelihoods and produce lost in the cyclone. Gathering around shrines and in churches, the people will reflect not only on what was lost but what has already been reclaimed. Flights to Vanuatu are back up and running with most of the resorts still open for business and islands which were left brown after the storm are now green once more.
The people of Vanuatu began to rebuild immediately after the cyclone and it's due to this no non-sense and resilient approach that they attribute their recovery to. However just 100 days on, they also credit their ability to bounce back to the many tourists who have made or kept their travel plans to the island. It's this economic and spiritual boost that has given them the strength to care for the injured, repair their homes and businesses and replant the food gardens that sustain them.
Through the kindness of aid provided by governments from around the world, the donations of caring charities and individuals as well as their own meagre materials, the friendly community of Vanuatu has slowly been helping each other to rebuild their lives. There are many ways in which you can help these smiling people to get back on their feet, but perhaps the best and most enjoyable way to help them is to enjoy a holiday to Vanuatu yourself.