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DART has been deployed to Vanuatu

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Gary Bailey and Andy Macpherson are safely on their way, hopefully arriving in Singapore about now. Their ETA in Port Vila is still 18 hours away! Both Singapore and Vanuatu airlines have been very cooperative with regard to their excess baggage. Both team members were extremely disciplined in their personal baggage and some hard decisions were made with regard to arborist equipment, but they were still 30kg over their allocated weight allowance! There's no getting away from it - chainsaws, ropes, strops, pulleys, etc are heavy bits of kit! There was also a need for our team to carry three weeks’ worth of dehydrated food to sustain them through the weeks ahead. It's a corner stone of the DART philosophy that our volunteers will arrive self-sufficient in food and shelter for the duration of their deployment, rather than become an additional burden on the affected community they are there to help.

 

This morning the Vanuatu National Disaster Management Office have issued the Initial Needs Assessment Reports for the outlying provinces and islands - Ambrym, Emae, Pentacost and Tanna. There has been a great deal of speculation in the international press regarding the situation in those remote areas and islands away from the capital Port Vila. The reports make sobering reading! They all highlight the problems caused by fallen trees blocking roads and vital infrastructure and importantly, the urgent need for chainsaws. The DART team is going to be kept very busy and there may even be a requirement for a follow on deployment if sufficient funding can be obtained.

 

Once again, on behalf of the trustees and volunteers of DART International UK, I would like to thank our sponsors for their generosity and support in mounting this operation to Vanuatu.

 

All the sponsors listed on our webpage have contributed vital equipment, but in particular we would like to thank Glendale and STEIN for their vital financial support and backing.

 

Best regards

 

Mike Metcalfe

Operations Manager

 

DART International UK. registered charity incorporated organisation number,1157168

Humanitarian response team, helping people in need internationally.

DART International UK

UK Mobile +44 (0) 7747 803375

Landline +44 (0) 1566 86424

Edited by Steve Bullman

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Update 2 Good morning all

 

Just received a quick update from our team via a borrowed Satphone. They spent yesterday introducing themselves to the various organisational authorities, attending the Regional Command Meeting and making people aware of their presence, equipment and capabilities. They have also established some useful relationships with various NGOs operating out of Port Vila ‪#‎Vanuatu‬. Their intentions over the next 24 hours are to start breaking out of Port Vila to address some of the many blocked roads and other infrastructure issues that are delaying the distribution of aid to areas beyond the capital. They send their regards to everyone and appreciate your best wishes and support.

 

 

Copied below is a list of recommendations taken from the latest National Disaster Management Office assessment report. Note the highlighted requirement for chainsaws for both shelter reconstruction and general logistic support!

 

Mike Metcalfe

 

Recommendations:

Food

a. Provision of seedlings to be considered to stimulate recovery of food gardens. In the meantime, food

distribution will be required.

WASH

b. Urgent planning for provision of water in the short term.

c. Water quality assessments (taking into account local opinions regarding contamination of ground

water sources)

d. Rainwater harvesting equipment (tanks, gutters, pipes).

e. Hygiene kits and soaps needed.

Emergency shelter

f. Temporary shelter required to reduce crowding in remaining dwellings, provide shade and promote

self‐recovery.

g. Chainsaws for rebuilding

Health

h. Restock of dressings and wound care supplies and medicines.

i. One referral boat needs to be replaced or repaired urgently.

Logistics

j. More chainsaws are needed for debris clearance and house rebuilding.

k. Coastal road also needs to be cleared/repaired for sea‐transport.

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Update 3

 

Latest update from ‪#‎Vanuatu‬:

 

The team have met the heads of two communities beyond the capital Port Vila - Melle to the north west and Erakor to the south - and scheduled work for the next 4 days. These villages have populations of about 2000 people and both are struggling to get back on their feet. Gary and Andy are heading to Melle first, where the school has been completely destroyed and the local community have identified clearing the building of fallen trees and debris as their top priority. Getting the local school up and running will inject some much needed normality and routine into the lives of the children and free up more adults to set about reconstructing homes, planting food and restoring livelihoods. The team will then move down to Erakor to help that village as directed by their community leaders.

 

 

The trip out to Tanna didn't materialize yesterday because the military would not allow any civilian HAZMAT on their flights, so the team would have been unable to transport fuel for their chainsaws and there is none available on the island. The AUS/NZ military engineers are arriving there in force and with heavy equipment early next week anyway, so our small team would have had limited impact.

 

The guys are both well and eager to get to work. To quote Andy directly, "There is ten years of tree work out here!" They are clearly making every effort to put themselves and their equipment at the disposal of the local government coordinating authorities; something that is entirely appropriate and necessary. We had an email this morning from Kim Williams at the NZ diplomatic residence, illustrating the good impression they've already made and the professionalism they're demonstrating at a high level:

 

Good Afternoon All,

 

Was great to conduct introductions with Andy MacPherson and Gary Bailey in Port Vila today. The services on offer from DART at this time in Vanuatu are considerably appropriate given the scale of devastation and nature of the vegetation here......We are seeking to let others know of the services on offer and are grateful for the skill set and professional positive attitude that Gary and Andy have brought to this trying situation....As discussed with our Aid personnel it is important that local authorities instruct on priorities and areas of work to ensure the collective efforts of all NGO’s and Aid providers are well coordinated and best utilised.

 

Kind Regards

 

Kim

 

Kim Williams

 

Manager, Asset Development

 

Asset Management Division

New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade | Manatū Aorer

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Update 4

 

Please see the latest photos of the work the team have been doing today under the direction of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Utilities to make a primary school safe in ‪#‎Vanuatu‬.

 

Andy Macpherson climbing to remove damaged and hanging branches above the school grounds and a poignant message on the blackboard of a roofless classroom

 

Supported by STEIN Products, Makita UK, & Glendale Managed Services

 

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