Lessons from Cyclone Pam build a more resilient Vanuatu


Understanding the impact that disaster has from community level to the highest level of government has helped Vanuatu to learn from the largest cyclone to hit the country in recorded history and direct future efforts to improve disaster risk management.

Tropical Cyclone Pam was the most intense in the Southern Hemisphere in 2015 and regarded as one of the worst disasters in the history of Vanuatu. 15 people died as the super cyclone moved over the country and slowed down, increasing the impact of its 250km/hour winds.

As a result, the Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific project, in coordination with the Vanuatu Government hosted a Lessons Learned Workshop involving 150 participants from affected communities; national, regional and international stakeholder groups; and civil society organisations and partners. This workshop enabled participants to hear the real experiences from community level, from those who lived through the cyclone, and understand how the National Disaster Management Team prepared for and responded to it. .

Recommendations were compiled in the outcome document which is now being used to inform the Government of Vanuatu’s Recovery Planning along with shaping the future priorities for Vanuatu under the BSRP project. This document also informed detailed discussions at the Pacific Humanitarian Partnership meeting in October which was attended by hundreds of representatives from disaster risk management and response agencies from across the Pacific region. These recommendations also led to further support for the Vanuatu Government with the German Development Bank (KFW) committing its support to help strengthen Vanuatu’s resilience to future disaster.