Catastrophic Cyclone hits Vanuatu


Our neighbours in Vanuatu need shelter now. Cyclone Harold has ripped through the nation, causing widespread damage and loss of life.

On April 6th Cyclone Harold made landfall in Vanuatu as a Category 5 cyclone, bringing devastation to the northern provinces.

The provinces of Sanma, Malampa, Torba and Penama are most affected. It is estimated that up to  90% of buildings and houses in Sanma are either damaged or destroyed.

Communications are still down in most areas and, coupled with the remote nature of many communities, the full extent of the damage or casualties is still unclear. 160,000 people are thought to be affected.

Vanuatu is mercifully COVID-19-free and the government would like to keep it that way. As such, we are unable to send in a Response Team. Our Operations team have been working tirelessly to find a way to assist the people of Vanuatu, working with the National Disaster Management Office and locally based NGOs.

How are we helping?

Damage caused by Cyclone Harold on Pentecost island and North Ambrym, Vanuatu. Image credit: Betty Toa/UN Women.

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, access to the country is extremely difficult right now.

Despite the challenges, we are currently working to find local partners who will help us get much-needed aid to families who are the most vulnerable.

We are looking to support families with shelter kits, tools and tarpaulins, and possibly other aid items.

We supported families in Vanuatu in 2015, when Cyclone Pam wreaked havoc in the country.

Pam had brought winds of 270km/h (170mph) and torrential rain. We responded soon after, providing emergency shelter and aid items to families who were hit badly.


Facts about Cyclone Harold

Photo taken in 2015, during our response to Cyclone Pam, which ripped through Vanuatu damaging and destroying many homes. ©2015 ShelterBox
  • Cyclone Harold made landfall in Vanuatu as a Category 5
  • There is a shortage of emergency shelter items in Vanuatu and in-country partners are turning to Shelter Cluster partners for assistance
  • Although the COVID-19 pandemic is restricting direct SRT access, ShelterBox has identified a potential partner in CARE Vanuatu
  • Based on the needs assessment, we are looking at providing IFRC spec Shelter Kits (tarps, tools and fixings) plus additional IFRC spec tarps and rope; solar lights. The caseload would be 3000 households
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As Coronavirus spreads, shelter is needed now more than ever before. Imagine trying to protect your family and loved ones from a deadly virus, before a fierce cyclone devastates everything.

Right now, we’re working around the clock with our global partners to reach the most vulnerable families around the world and provide essential shelter and aid. We’re currently working in places like Syria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Somaliland and Ethiopia.

Your support is crucial in these difficult times – please support our work and help families in crises all over the world.

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