After the cyclone disaster that left Vanuatu partially destroyed and in a state of emergency, the Japanese government, in response to a formal request made by the government of Vanuatu to all the members of the international community, has decided to extend emergency relief goods in equivalent to £112000. The emergency aid will be implemented by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) taking into account the humanitarian situation on the ground and considering the friendly relations between Vanuatu and Japan.
The cyclone Pam killed at least 24 people and left 3300 people homeless. Officials say that this number will rise as soon as the authorities land at the outer islands of the archipelago. Diseases like dengue fever and malaria could also be the cause of a rising number of victims as a consequence of this disaster.
The Vanuatu President, Baldwin Lonsdale, was in Japan at the time the storm hit the archipelago. Ironically, he was attending a disaster conference organised by the United Nations. Japan, due to its experience dealing with natural disasters, e.g. earthquakes and tsunamis, can be a valuable ally in the recover of Vanuatu.
Japan established diplomatic relations with the Vanuatu in 1981 and JICA was established in Port Vila in 1988. The Japanese agency has since been implementing various kinds of cooperation projects in the archipelago, e.g. developing its human resources and focusing on areas such as education, health, rural infrastructures development and environmental issues. The resident representative of JICA in Vanuatu, Tsutomu Moriya, underlined that Vanuatu's colonial history, culture and geopolitical circumstances are always taken into account in the implementation of cooperation projects by the government of Japan.
Vanuatu, due to its remote and isolated location, has been dependent on external support in order to successfully face the challenges posed by events like the Pam cyclone. The international community, particularly states like Japan, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, will have a fundamental role in the recovery of this afflicted nation.