TC Harold relief items must be quarantined before distribution to affected communities: NDMO

Relief supplies being unloaded at the airport this week.

The National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) in its response efforts to all affected islands by TC Harold, would like to address concerns which have been raised by the general public on social media about why humanitarian supplies are being delivered to Port Vila and not direct to Santo and other affected islands. 

This is because all goods coming into the country need to be treated according to COVID-19 protocols including handling requirements and use of personal protective equipment (PPE).  This is to contain any COVID-19 virus transmissions.

Under COVID-19 guidelines all goods must be disinfected before they can be directed to where they are needed.

The capacity to carry out these strict protocols, and ensure the safety of the people of all Vanuatu is held here in Port Vila, which was not directly hit by Tropical Cyclone Harold.

Under these protocols, medical clearances are needed, goods and equipment need to be disinfected and physical distancing practiced at all times along with the use of PPE.  Goods are also to be held in quarantine for a period of three days to ensure no transfer of COVID-19.

NDMO would also like to make it clear that no foreign personnel are being brought into Vanuatu at this time to assist with our response. This is an internally run response. We need to work together.

Affected communities in Sanma, Penama and Malampa provinces are dealing with their own burdens right now while attempting to carry out their own duties and assist their families.

Assessments have now been completed in the most affected areas within Sanma, Malampa and Penama. Shefa assessments are also underway.  Torba is also partially to be assessed by Rapid Technical Assessment Teams however both Shefa and Torba are believed to have not been affected as much as the other three provinces.

The first humanitarian supplies for TC Harold have arrived from New Zealand and Australia and have been successfully offloaded and treated. These include shelter kits, kitchen kits, blankets, solar lanterns, bed nets and hygiene kits.  Food supplies are also being shipped north for distribution by NDMO to all affected areas.