TC Donna Media Release



The Pacific Island region has always received overwhelming offers of support from its fellow islands and close neighbours when struck by disaster.

Donated items can be helpful, but the types of gifts, and the timing in which they are sent is important, or it can unintentionally harm humanitarian response in the early stages. Those wanting to show their support are strongly encouraged to make cash donations to agencies working locally in country. The Government of Vanuatu works with a range of partner agencies, please see a list here.

In the immediate time after a disaster, life saving relief items are the greatest priority. Agencies have stockpiles and identified suppliers at the ready, to purchase and transport these items to the affected communities. These are standardised so communities get consistent quality relief items as much as possible.

It is important that airlines, shipping lines, local wharves, trucks and warehouses are available to do this. When our generous neighbours send second hand clothes, teddy bears, and food items of various quality and local appropriateness, they take up this valuable supply chain space for immediately needed life saving items.

Also, unless there is an organisation arranged to receive, pay clearance fees, and distribute the items, the Government is left to deal with them. This means containers often sit for long periods, taking up room and accumulating fees, while much needed relief items are prioritised. For TC Pam, the storage fees for unsolicited donations were $1.5 million. By the time some containers were opened, many of the items had perished. The Government then had to pay to sort and dispose of them.

In the first three months, cash donations are best. Donated money is used to purchase and transport priority relief items. Where possible humanitarian agencies will purchase in country, which helps re-establish local economies and livelihoods.

In several weeks time, the Government and humanitarian agencies will have a better idea of what donation items will be the most useful to the communities. If needed, a follow up media message will be sent advising of useful items for donation. Thank you for your understanding. For cash donations to immediately assist communities affected by TC Donna, please contact our partner agencies. Please see a list here.

For more information on how some donated items negatively affected TC Pam and TC Winston response operations please refer to the Vanuatu NDMO page here