The Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) has recently announced in the 2022/2023 Tropical Cyclone (TC) Seasonal Outlook that Vanuatu is expected to have three to four TCs during this cyclone season from November 2022 – April 2023. VMGD further stated that one of the cyclones may reach category 3 or more, and there is possibility for category 5 since current climate conditions are like past events.

In the face of this, Save the Children Vanuatu is ready to announce that they stand prepared to provide any needed humanitarian assistance, with specific emphasis on the ability to provide cash and voucher assistance to any affected communities, families and children in Vanuatu.

In the lead up to this season, Save the Children Vanuatu has piloted a cash program in June 2022 to strengthen its humanitarian response capacity by delivering cash assistance to vulnerable households across Port Vila. Nearly VT6 million was injected into local businesses through spendings of cash recipients, with VT20, 000 distributed to 213 cash cheque beneficiaries and 81 voucher e-cards. Save the Children went live in Port Vila distributing Umoja cards loaded with Celo dollars (end-to-end digital cash assistance) and cash cheques in partnership with BSP to vulnerable families around Port Vila’s ward areas. The Cash Voucher Assistance (CVA) pilot project is consistent with Save the Children’s Emergency Preparedness Plan and Country Strategic Plan. The value proposition objective will contribute to achieving Save the Children’s vision in 2024 by ensuring every child attains the right to survival, protection, development, and participation.

“Save the Children is glad to have partnered with our local partners for this pilot such as Vanuatu Business Resilience Council, Au Bon Marche, BSP Bank, Port Vila Municipal, and Digicel,” said Director of Program Implementation Ms Relvie Matariki.

“It was a great opportunity to collaborate and build the local capacity to deal with cash in an emergency.”

Ms Matariki continued to say that the pilot “has helped us to strengthen Save the Children’s processes, systems, and simultaneously builds on our capacity so that in the next emergency we are cash ready to respond to affected families or households with cash.”

Supporting our capacity strengthening for cash and voucher humanitarian assistance, Save the Children also undertook a disaster simulation exercise in September of this year. The main office in Port-Vila, and its field offices in Santo and Ambae had all their staff undergo a week-long simulation exercise facilitated by Ms Danielle Brunton; Save the Children Australia Emergency Preparedness and Response Advisor. “Save the Children is investing in preparedness across the Pacific,” Mrs Brunton shared.

“In Vanuatu, we stand ready to support communities hardest hit by disasters with cash assistance or through in-kind support, as directed by the Government of Vanuatu.”

Similar simulation exercises were carried out in Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, as Save the Children strengthens their response capacity across the Pacific.

Save the Children would like to remind everyone to be vigilant and prepare their homes and communities as we face the uncertainties ahead. Gather your torches, radios, batteries, canned food, containers of clean water, window shutters, materials, and the Vanuatu tracking map to keep you and your family safe.

Take heed of the information and warnings from the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), the VMGD and other informative mediums. Also, utilize local knowledge also to read the changing weather patterns and stay safe always.