The United Nations has launched an urgent appeal for nearly $US30 million ($A38 million) to provide life-saving assistance in Vanuatu after the island nation was ravaged by cyclone Pam.
The UN’s humanitarian organisation said it had launched a flash appeal for $29.9 million to help 166,000 people in the Pacific archipelago after it was hit by the cyclone on March 13.
‘That is more than half of the population of this island nation,’ OCHA spokesman Jens Laerke said in Geneva on Tuesday.
Severe Tropical Cyclone Pam, a maximum category five storm, destroyed homes and crops and contaminated water supplies in Vanuatu, increasing the risk of the spread of infectious and water-borne diseases.
An estimated 110,000 people have no access to safe drinking water, while some 75,000 urgently need shelter, according to OCHA.
Laerke said the money would be used to provide life-saving assistance, including food, water, health care and shelter to people in all of the affected areas, covering 22 of Vanuatu’s some 80 islands.
A full $8.2 million of the appeal would go to help bring food assistance to communities were reserves are running dangerously low, he said.
Laerke said donors had already raised $2.3 million.
The UN’s children’s fund meanwhile said $4.8 million of the overall UN appeal would go to helping some 82,000 children, or two thirds of the youngsters in the country, in desperate need of humanitarian assistance.