31 March - From our man in Santo, Revd Mike Hawke

1 April 2015

Gidday from Santo where I have spent the night with the Melanesian Brothers. I almost tripped over a couple of them in the middle of the night. It is so, so hot that they sleep on the concrete floor, which makes the route to the toilet quite hazardous! Having observed the meagre rice and noodles that their counterparts in Vila offer, I spent some Mothers Union money I had been given, to buy some meat, called Number One Mince!! Mysteriously, we had half the village turn up for tea. It turned out to be a great night with lots of singing. Bishop James is talking about 3 stages in the response to Cyclone PAM:
1/ The immediate emergency response. Providing food, water, shelter, hospital and medical assistance for the injured. This occurs during the next few days and weeks.
2/ The next phase is the INTERMEDIATE phase, which we are entering now and will last 4-6 months. This involves repairing permanent houses, schools, the hospital, churches etc, so that they can provide ' business ' as usual '. This will require teams of builders from overseas to work alongside locals. There is huge Media interest in Vanuatu that has evoked much sympathy ,and a desire to help. In my opinion, we need to take advantage of this and act quickly while there is an appetite to help Vanuatu.
3/ The LONG TERM phase. Bishop James calls this the Joseph stage: the long term storage of goods for a 'Rainy day'. There is a need to erect shelters, to house both food water emergency equipment and people when the next storm comes. These need to be erected all over the nation. They will be like bunkers, safe places, which also double as store houses. This is a long term project