Humanists support recovery efforts following the devastation of Tropical Cyclone Pam effecting nine South Pacific countries, including Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Fiji, Tuvalu, and Papua New Guinea.
The Washington Post reports on Tropical Cyclone Pam:
Late last week, one of the strongest tropical cyclones on record in the South Pacific made a direct hit on the island nation of Vanuatu, leaving more than 20 people dead and massive destruction in its wake.
Tropical Cyclone Pam’s sustained winds of 165 mph and gusts nearing 200 ripped trees from the ground and flattened homes. In the course of a day, Tropical Cyclone Pam intensified from the equivalent of a category 2 hurricane to a category 4, before going on to become just the second category 5 on record to directly hit an island in the South Pacific. At the time, Pam was the strongest of four concurrent cyclones in the western Pacific and Indian oceans.
In response to the tragedy, Humanist Disaster Recovery, a cooperative program of Foundation Beyond Belief and the American Humanist Association, is now raising funds to help with the recovery effort underway in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Pam. The following is an excerpt from a statement issued by the group:
On March 13th, Tropical Cyclone Pam formed in the South Pacific. The category 5 storm has impacted nine countries including, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Fiji, Tuvalu, and Papua New Guinea. It is being described as one of the strongest tropical cyclones to ever impact the South Pacific.
Much of the infrastructure, including lines of communication, were taken out by the storm. Initial reports have said 90% of homes in Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu, have been significantly damaged or destroyed; while 45% of the population of Tuvalu are now homeless. Further damage assessments are underway but it is anticipated that entire islands, not yet contacted, have been destroyed.The response and recovery from this storm will be a long process requiring the aid of the international community. Many NGOs working in the impacted community pre-disaster have sustained significant damage themselves. International disaster response NGOs, the UN, and several governments have already begun sending much needed aid into impacted areas. While the immediate needs are for food, water, and shelter there will be many long-term needs in these communities for years to come as they navigate the recovery process.
We are now supporting CARE Australia. They are currently providing much needed emergency assistance to those impacted in Vanuatu. They have been working in the country since 2008 on disaster resilience and climate change projects. They were selected because of their pre-existing presence in the area and their focus on the short and long term impacts of disaster stricken communities.
About the recovery effort, Samantha Montano, Humanist Disaster Recovery Coordinator at Foundation Beyond Belief, reports:
We have just started raising funds for areas impacted by Cyclone Pam in the South Pacific. The need for recovery aid is quite desperate. 100% of donations will be sent to CARE Australia, a secular organization, working to meet the needs of survivors in Vanuatu.
Readers can support the Tropical Cyclone Pam recovery effort here.