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TOPIC: Cyclone Pam - Vanuatu

Cyclone Pam - Vanuatu 2 years 1 month ago #1919

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This is a report via the Bluewater Cruisers Association from someone who weathered cyclone Pam.

Randall Donofrio ‎Liveaboard Sailboat


We already knew Friday the 13th of March was going to be a black day with talk of the Vanuatu Beast and Nuclear Cyclones having done the rounds for a week or so. As currently forecast, the eye was going to side swipe us by about 100 miles at category 5.

Our boat was already hauled, cottage cyclone shutters in place, big battery, inverter and lights for the cyclone itself and generator for the post cyclone power outage. It’s funny, after weathering cyclones on boats with only solar panels, we realized we needed a generator to run our fridge etc. Not so self sufficient as land lubbers. Plenty of food and drinking water in stock as well as charged phone batteries, kindle & laptop.

The morning of the 13th was spent doing a couple of last minute preparations and talking about strategies & contingencies with the Admiral. Our cottage is 4 metres above high tide mark and about 8 metres back from the water on a lagoon. The winds were forecast to come straight across the lagoon at us then veer to the southwest as the eye passed, so we were going to receive the full brunt of what Pam had to offer, with water thrown into the mix as well.
As the winds built we battened down and by lunch time we had 40 knots gusting to 60, nothing too dramatic yet if you have ever lived in Wellington NZ. By early evening it was really starting to boogie and we stood by to lose power at any moment.

Around 1900 we received an updated warning that the system had changed track and was heading more or less directly for us. We had been concerned about losing the roof and what we would do so we had built a small bunker out of 2 very strong tables, covered with a tarpaulin and sheltering our important papers, mementoes etc. with barely enough room for us. After the latest update we decided to enlarge the bunker with a king size bed base supported by the 2 tables and 2 chairs with the mattress underneath for us to sleep on, all kept cozy with the tarpaulin covering the whole lot.

We’ve both lived and worked on the windiest place on Earth and experienced what Antarctica can show but NOTHING prepares you for 130 knots of sustained winds for a few hours. The wind skipped through the “shrieking” phase and went to the “moaning” very quickly but we were so exhausted we actually slept for some time.
The devastation we awakened to on the Saturday was mind boggling. Our cottage proved her worth as an old school colonial building and was almost completely untouched. We were one of the few lucky ones with rooves, trees and assorted debris blocking every street and road.

The clearing effort started immediately and when we were able to get to the harbour we were confronted by about 90% of the moored boat fleet either damaged, sunk, semi submerged or tossed up on shore like a toy boat. Unconfirmed news was reaching us of 3 yachties dead. The coastal trading fleet were lying like a row of tipped over dominoes on Iririki Island with some small boats crushed in between them.

One 90’ steel dive boat had managed to cut a swathe through the moored boats, sinking some, holing others and breaking moorings. Derelict vessels that Marine & Ports had done nothing about broke their lines and holed other boats.
In amongst it all were a few yachts that had survived by some miracle, including an old classic Bass Strait sailing cray boat. None of the owners had expected to have a boat in the morning so the 5 yachts that survived were truly blessed.
We had one boat listed for sale by an absentee owner which ended up with her mast poking through the Waterfront Bar & Grill (for those that know Port Vila). I contacted him yesterday to see if he had insurance, the answer was “no” and he had resigned himself as early as last Wednesday that he had lost his boat. The chainsaw starts tomorrow to remove it.

All this is the devastation from one small part of Vanuatu. Google a map and understand that this system passed the whole length of the island chain, most of which we still have no communication with. Spare a thought for the people of Vanuatu and make sure you come here this year if you are planning to, the country needs yachties like never before.

This is an amazing country with amazing people, I have not seen a single outward show of grief yet there is plenty to grieve about. Some of the first businesses to re-open were the nakamals where people go to enjoy a relaxing shell of kava. We sat around, expats and ni-Vans talking about how lucky we are.
For the person that asked, the lagoon east of the main harbour is barely navigable at the entrance but will allow a 6’ draft to enter at high tide but is actually around a very nasty weather point to approach so has never really been used. (This is the lagoon we live on).

Oh BTW, our yacht “Nightcap” survived the onslaught but, despite being tied down, 8 props and being in the lee of the worst wind managed to fall over gracefully and is now lying on her side. One day I’ll post how to properly prepare a keeler for the strongest storm in recorded history for this part of the world.

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Daria Blackwell
Rear Commodore
PR Officer, Editor OCC Digital Comms &
Port Officer, West of Ireland
s/v Aleria
www.coastalboating.net

Cyclone Pam - Vanuatu 2 years 1 month ago #1920

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Information for Immediate Release

Contact:
Daria Blackwell
OCC Press Officer This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

17th March 2015
Sailors band together to get relief to cyclone stricken Pacific Islanders


Dartmouth, Devon, United Kingdom – On Thursday the 14th of March, Cyclone Pam devastated the South Pacific island nations of Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, leaving death and destruction behind. In Vanuatu the emergency has been big enough to trigger International Aid so whilst the job is massive, many planes are already arriving with supplies. Temotu (North East Solomon Islands) has been affected as badly as Vanuatu but, as fewer people live there, it has not triggered an International Aid effort, leaving them with little help. Members of the Ocean Cruising Club, many of whom have visited these islands and made friends among the residents, have asked how best to reach out with assistance that will have the most beneficial impact on the lives of those most affected.

Jim Thomsen, s/v Tenaya, responded, “There are many international organizations that will be helping Vanuatu. One organization, Sea Mercy, has their own sailboats and focuses on reaching the remote islands that are usually the last to receive aid.” Sea Mercy is now preparing to send her Disaster Relief Fleet (DRFleet) to join the Disaster Relief & Recovery efforts in Vanuatu, providing the care needed for the less populated and often forgotten remote islands during such difficult times.

Chris Bone of Oceans Watch responded that it would be best to have a larger impact in Temotu than a small impact in the whole of Vanuatu so they are currently concentrating efforts there. They can also help the smaller northern group of Islands in Vanuatu if it looks like they will miss out on aid assistance. Jim Thomsen reports that remote Tanna may have been the hardest hit island in Vanuatu.

OCC Member Tom Partridge and his partner Susie have been living in Vanuatu for 4 months while his yacht Adina was tied down in a cradle in the Port Vila Boatyard. They were fortunately in New Zealand when Cyclone Pam struck. Late yesterday they received the news that Adina was undamaged and that all yachts in the boatyard were unscathed. They are returning to Vanuatu at the weekend and have offered to stay on to coordinate relief efforts on the ground.

Cyclone Pam has left a huge amount of damage in its wake. Some lives were lost, many houses were damaged or completely destroyed. Fruit trees are gone, gardens washed away or covered in debris, and just root crops left in most instances.

Chris Bone reports, “To date we have used donated funds to pay for an assessment of Fenualoa Island, where we have a good knowledge of all villages. They need ~60 tarpaulins and emergency food. They also need chain saws to clear fallen trees from houses and gardens. We are going to provide some emergency food. We hope World Vision can supply the tarpaulins (they do not provide food) and we have ordered two chainsaws to be loaned to villages and we will be providing fuel. We shall supply a chainsaw mill, too, so that bigger trees can be utilised for building supplies, and are delivering vegetable seeds for planting. OceansWatch is a registered charity in New Zealand, the US, the UK and the Solomon Islands, with 8 years’ experience in the Pacific. We are seeking guidance from our Solomon Island directors as to where our efforts are best placed. We have raised NZ$3,000 so far with more promised. But our greatest need is experienced skippers and crew to sail our boats from New Zealand to the islands as soon as possible after cyclone season.”

The Ocean Cruising Club commends the strategy of these two organizations to reach those hardest hit and least likely to receive immediate international aid. OCC Commodore John Franklin says, "these two organisations, along with assistance from OCC member Tom Partridge in Port Vila, seem to have in place the infrastructure to make a real difference to the plight of the islanders - please support them."

Sea Mercy
www.seamercy.org/civicrm/contribute/transact?reset=1&id=20

OceansWatch
givealittle.co.nz/cause/cyclonepamrelief
Contact Chris Bone directly for additional information This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For more information about the Ocean Cruising Club, please visit the OCC website at www.oceancruisingclub.org .



Photo credit: UNICEF Pacific
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Daria Blackwell
Rear Commodore
PR Officer, Editor OCC Digital Comms &
Port Officer, West of Ireland
s/v Aleria
www.coastalboating.net
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Cyclone Pam - Vanuatu 2 years 1 month ago #1921

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Daria Blackwell
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Cyclone Pam - Vanuatu 2 years 1 month ago #1922

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BBC Report shows the path Cyclone Pam took.

m.bbc.com/news/world-asia-31917913

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Daria Blackwell
Rear Commodore
PR Officer, Editor OCC Digital Comms &
Port Officer, West of Ireland
s/v Aleria
www.coastalboating.net

Cyclone Pam - Vanuatu 2 years 1 month ago #1931

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Just in from Tom in Vanuatu...
www.yachtadina.co.uk

Apologies for the delay in getting back to you – internet access is on and off. Anything you can do to help is great. Nails and hammers are a good idea to help people re-build homes. Then clothes, plates and food. Seeds would be welcome.

We’ve encouraged people to make donations to their favourite charity or give us a donation and we will spend it and ensure it gets to villages and villagers. So many people have lost their homes and the situation is getting worse as crops were washed away. We already have a pile of stuff ready to go and will spend more. Our plan is to visit the outer islands like Erromango which will get less aid than places like Efate and Tanna.

People also fear tourists won’t come and I’d encourage every cruiser to visit – it’s a beautiful place with the nicest people.

Adina is undamaged having been in a cradle and in a boatyard. We’re getting her ready to launch as soon as we can.

Thanks for getting in contact and hope to see you along the line.

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Daria Blackwell
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Port Officer, West of Ireland
s/v Aleria
www.coastalboating.net

Cyclone Pam - Vanuatu 2 years 1 month ago #1932

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Sea Mercy is in need of additional vessels to deliver supplies. If you have a vessel in the Pacific and wish to assist, please register with Sea Mercy here: http://www.seamercy.org/node/125

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Daria Blackwell
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s/v Aleria
www.coastalboating.net

Cyclone Pam - Vanuatu 2 years 1 month ago #1934

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Hello everyone,

Darramy greetings from the UK. At present we are back in the UK for a couple more weeks. and have been following the sad news of Cyclone Pam decimating Vanuatu especially the outer islands.

Vanuatu is our next group islands to visit, and we understand that the people are every bit as lovely as the people we met in Fiji last year. The people make places special especially on the more remote islands.

We get back to Darramy in Fiji, mid April and will set out for Vanuatu as soon as the boat is ready. Over the years we have had some fantastic times visiting these wonderful places, and feel we would like to put something back and we will be offering to help with the relief efforts before we head to Australia. It will take a long time for these people to rebuild their lives.


There are various relief agencies around, but a couple stand out as they are small voluntary organisations which seem to get to the heart of the outlying areas. there are also members of the OCC (Ocean Cruising Club) who like ourselves will be offering assistance.

Yep this is where I actually ask you to consider sending a small donation to them.

So without further ado, check out these sites and see if you can help.

www.seamercy.org/civicrm/contribute/transact?reset=1&id=20

givealittle.co.nz/cause/cyclonepamrelief

Please pass these sites on to your friends and colleagues

Take Care and thanks

Brian and Sue
S/V Darramy

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Daria Blackwell
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Cyclone Pam - Vanuatu 2 years 1 month ago #1939

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Photos of before and after Pam show extent of devastation:

http://www.theweathernetwork.com/news/articles/shocking-photos-show-vanuatu-before-and-after-cyclone-pam/47893/

Tomnod has requested assistance from the public in identifying damage:

http://sendy.tomnod.com/l/wuhtl892jEzwj1LVGtJ763OvJA/ea4wG6UQUHZGAHGVgrT4Ag/wLMldcyAc9j892Vo3gG9763w0w

M4.8 Earthquake 173km NNW of Sola, Vanuatu
Event Time
2015-03-27 07:55:35 (UTC)
[url=http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/us10001r4q#general_summary[/url]

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Cyclone Pam - Vanuatu 2 years 4 weeks ago #1941

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This just in from Sea Mercy:

Thank you for the promotion of our program and how people can help. It is still chaotic as the local and international aid organizations try to coordinate all the NGO's and international aid assistance to those in need. We hope to relieve the concern for the remote islands and citizens that have not received a great deal of aid attention due to a lack of delivery vessels.

Current Update:
• We have three vessels (s/v Salsa, s/v Lil Explorers, and s/v Chez Nous) standing by in Fiji to begin operations in Vanuatu once our paperwork has been cleared (we hope to have this approved by Monday, March 30th). We have additional vessels moving toward Fiji & Vanuatu with arrival plans from April through June (m/v Buffalo Nickel, s/v La Quilta, s/v Baies Du Monde, s/v Sea Angel, others standing by).
• Our Disaster Response Coordinator, John Ivey, arrives in Nadi, Fiji on March 31. While there he will be purchasing and organizing aid packages for the DR Fleet to carry as they depart the first week of April (food, medical supplies, tools, shelter, etc.). Nigel Skeggs, Managing Director at The Port Denarau Marina in Nadi has donated temporary storage facilities for staging of our in-kind donations prior to our vessels departing. If you have local members who would be able to donate supplies, please have them contact Nigel or us for drop-off instructions (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).
• John Ivey will then fly to Vanuatu on April 1 to begin coordinating the arrival and scheduling of our DR Vessels with the NDMO and MOH operations for delivering aid and services to the remote islands.

In addition to the medical staff and supplies being sent, we are negotiating to have a commercial (heavy duty) watermaker shipped to Fiji and installed on our lead vessel Dragonfly (add to her existing low volume watermaker) to provide her with the ability to generate additional emergency water for the remote island villages at each stop. Your donation is greatly appreciated and will help us to provide the care and services to the remote islands that are often in the greatest need, but are generally the last to see international aid delivered to them.

If possible, please share our Disaster Relief for Vanuatu fundraising page ( www.seamercy.org/civicrm/contribute/transact?reset=1&id=20 ) with your professional and personal network and encourage them to make a donation to support Sea Mercy's efforts on the remote islands (or to donate to other international aid organizations supporting the disaster relief efforts in Vanuatu). I have attached a few items to help explain the programs and services we provide our island nation partners in the South Pacific and the impact they are having there. Please feel free to call or email me with any questions.

Please feel free to share the above information with your members and community. We are constantly encouraged by the hearts and offers of assistance from the international sailing and boating communities. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

All the best to you,

Richard Hackett
President & Founder
Sea Mercy
www.seamercy.org
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
541-935-5846

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File Attachment:

File Name: VanuatuReliefFlyer.pdf
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File Name: SeaMercyBrochure2015.pdf
File Size: 720 KB


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File Name: 2014-AYearofImpact.pdf
File Size: 116 KB


File Attachment:

File Name: AugustNewsletter2014.pdf
File Size: 720 KB
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Cyclone Pam - Vanuatu 2 years 4 weeks ago #1942

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Humans of Vanuatu is reporting from on site and posting updates and photos on their facebook page.



https://www.facebook.com/HumansOfVanuatu?fref=photo&sk=photos

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Daria Blackwell
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Cyclone Pam - Vanuatu 2 years 3 weeks ago #1949

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Daria,
Thanks, I sent out an email blast asking our readers to contribute to WorldVision, who is on the ground now with help. They will need a lot of help for a long time. One of my readers is a doctor who works with them. He says 100% of the funds sent for a particular event go to that event.

Bob Bitchin
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
530-589-7979
www.cruisingoutpost.com

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Cyclone Pam - Vanuatu 2 years 2 weeks ago #1967

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Hello All

Quick update from Adina in Vanuatu. We are now in Havannah Harbour preparing to sail to the Shepard Islands and Epi to help wherever we can. We are laden down with building materials, tarpaulins, food, basic first aid, and clothing.

Please keep in touch if you need any help. There are too many unfounded rumours about customs etc. being bounded around whilst we have had nothing but kind help. And I'd also encourage people to please spend aid money in Port Vila as it is well stocked and that money goes to the local economy. The government is assisting by making building materials VAT free.

For us, it's just wonderful to see friends changing sailing plans to include coming to Vanuatu. Good luck with all your efforts.

Kind regards
Tom

www.yachtadina.co.uk

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Daria Blackwell
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