Netherlands pledge half million euro for Vanuatu relief
The Cabinet is sending €500,000 to Vanuatu, where about half of the population has been affected by Cyclone Pam. This comes on top of aid that the Netherlands Red Cross hopes to collect from the community.
“It is important that Vanuatu receives aid as soon as possible, because many people have nothing left after this disaster. The tragedy is huge,” Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Minister Lilianne Ploumen said in a release from Government today.
Pam, a category five storm, with winds of up to 300km/h (185mph), veered off its expected course and struck populated areas when it reached Vanuatu early on Saturday. At least eight people are reported to have been killed. President Baldwin Lonsdale has told the BBC many of his people are homeless after the "monster" cyclone that destroyed most buildings in the capital Port Vila, including schools and clinics. A state of emergency has been declared in the tiny state of 267,000 people, spread over 65 islands.
The first deliveries of aid have arrived on air force planes from New Zealand and Australia. The UK, France, UN and European Union have also promised help.
Minister Ploumen, who is in Japan at an international conference about disaster prevention, said that reports from the cyclone stricken nation will help decide how the aid from the Netherlands will be spent.
Meanwhile the Netherlands Red Cross has opened bank account 6868, where it invites people to contribute to relief aid for Vanuatu. “They need a lot of help over there, like water and food, medical aid and sanitary products like toilet paper, toothpaste and soap. They also need tarpaulins to cover their houses temporary,” a press release said.