The island nation of Vanuatu (above, left) has been in the news because of the terrible damage caused by Severe Tropical Cyclone Pam. The capital, Port Vila, was hard hit (see the photo below by Graham Crumb of Humans of Vanuatu), and some islands (such as Erromango and Tanna) were utterly devastated. The right-hand side of the map above shows the track of the cyclone, with the strongest (Category 5) period shown in red.
The people on the devastated islands desperately need water, food, and shelter. The international community is helping out, but donate if you can. Please: there are many donation options.
However, as the cyclone track above suggests, the large island of Espiritu Santo came through the cyclone comparatively unscathed. The people there, strangely enough, need tourists. Tourists are their livelihood, and tourism is also the engine of Vanuatu’s national economy. So you can also support the nation of Vanuatu by taking a holiday there. The beaches and the diving are, they tell me, great, and the brave people of Vanuatu will become more than just faces on the television. To quote a message from one of the locals on Espiritu Santo:
“Thank you everyone for your kind thoughts and wishes sent during this very sad time in Vanuatu. Santo has been blessed, Cyclone Pam has passed by the Island of Santo causing only minor damage. We have clean water, power and plenty of food. We also have travelers waiting to return to their countries as soon as possible. ALL RESORTS AND BUSINESSES ARE OPERATING AS NORMAL.
As of today we still have no communications. Turtle Bay Resorts satellite system is being used by the community to send out emails and to keep up with information on Port Vila’s terrible situation. The business community of Santo is terribly concerned of the warnings for travelers to cancel their travel plans to Vanuatu. The media of course is reporting the situation in Vila but this is not Santo. If our Island can keep receiving the visitors, businesses in Santo will survive the crisis situation in the months to come. This in turn will support many local people who will be able to support their families in Port Vila to rebuild their lives. No tourism and our Vanuatu economy will suffer greatly.”