The nation of Vanuatu was recently ranked highest risk for natural disasters (World Risk Index 2021). However, experiencing two Category 4 cyclones in less than 48 hours was a first.  In early March, the destructive winds of Cyclone Judy hit Vanuatu, quickly followed by Cyclone Kevin. The Vanuatu government declared a state of emergency from the collective damage of the cyclones, which impacted essential services and infrastructure and many homes and gardens. 

As one of the strongest buildings in the area, the Family Care Centre was an evacuation point for the community. Anna Harris, the FCC director, shares: “We had 120 of our neighbours come shelter with us. Leading up to the cyclones, we put up cyclone shutters, carried water from the water tanks to the building for flushing toilets and filtering drinking water, and stocked up on food to feed everyone. 

After assessing the damage to the community, we decided to keep our centre open for an additional week while people cleaned up and built shelters. We provided medical services, prepared meals, and distributed donated clothes and goods. World Vision, in partnership with the National Disaster Management Office, arrived to deliver hygiene packs and food. I love that we were able to provide this space, serving our community in a time of great need.”

One of Marine Reach’s October DTS Outreach teams was in Vanuatu during the cyclones. Team leader Isaiah Robison reflects on the experience: “The first cyclone came on Wednesday followed by the next one on Friday. Our team expected to return to New Zealand on Saturday, but found our flight was cancelled. This was the lowest point of outreach, yet in that darkness, Jesus showed us how we could be a light. Multiple students stepped up and led various relief efforts for the community. We helped cook, clean, assess damages, entertain children, and even run a full church service at the FCC. I am thankful that God gave us the opportunity to serve others and be a blessing to the people of Vanuatu!”

Please continue to pray for the people of Vanuatu as they recover from these cyclones.

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