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Salvation Army helps Vanuatu rebuild

25 March 2015

Major Darren Elsley is among a team of Salvation Army personnel on the ground in Vanuatu accessing the needs of those affected by Cyclone Pam. Major Elsley shares some of his experiences from Vanuatu. 

Rosie

At the evacuation centre I met Rosie, whose house was washed away when the local creek flooded during the night. She went back to her home the morning after the cyclone after sheltering with 200 others in a local church, but could not find it. Her home had been completely destroyed. Only mud and twisted trees remained where her house once stood. Her poultry and pig were nowhere to be found. “I am very sad, but also very happy that my family is safe,” she said.

A Family of Six

A family of six at an evacuation centre told me that when they returned to their house, it had collapsed and was “completely flat”. They go back each day, after eating and sleeping at the evacuation centre, to find any bent up corrugated iron sheets that remain strewn around the street and in trees that were once the walls and roof of their house. “We try [sic] to put it back together, but we cannot find everything,” they said.

Lilirose and William

Lilirose and William are Salvation Army members in Port Vila, Vanuatu. When we contacted Lilirose the weekend after the cyclone she was in much better spirit than the Friday night when she was in tears. She offered thanksgiving for everyone giving prayer support. This means a lot to her.

"We faced a big challenge, but we trusted God," she said. I asked her what their biggest need is. She replied: “We want our Worship Centre back. The children come and say 'we have no place to pray'” It moved me to tears to think those dear children are more concerned about having “a place to pray” than they are about their food and clothing. What special little people they are!

“Everyone in Port Vila has big damage,” Lilirose said. Tagabe has extensive damage. Looters deepen the distress of the people. At Lilirose and William's place they lost the house’s roof (they have replaced it temporarily), the Worship Centre has no roof and some of the upright posts are broken. Their mattresses are still wet and their clothing was strewn all over the yard. They have to dry everything out. There is some sunshine but still a lot of rain around. Power is off. Tanks are okay, so they have water.

Click here to donate to The Salvation Army’s Cyclone Pam Disaster Appeal.

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