The Pam Recovery Committee (PRC) provides the following information concerning the recovery activities now being undertaken by the Salwai led Government.
Over the past five months, since the launch of the 100 day plan, the PRC has worked hard to accelerate the implementation of recovery projects across a number of key areas, with projects in full swing in the areas of Health, Water, Agriculture, Education, Public Buildings, and Tourism. Recovery projects are scheduled for completion by the latest of August 2017, with the exception of the Asian Development Bank’s Road Reconstruction project, repairing the Efate Ring Road, and the World Bank’s Vanuatu Infrastructure Reconstruction and Improvement Project (VIRIP), which are scheduled for completion by December 2017 and December 2021, respectively. The PRC has met a number of occasions to clear project proposals for implementation by sectors.
The Ministry of Health’s Health Sector Infrastructure and Equipment Recovery Programme aims to repair cyclone damage to health facilities, replace critical medical equipment; and install improved solar, rainwater capture and sanitation systems. Overall, 138 facilities are being upgraded with enhanced cyclone protection, a new Ministry of Health Provincial Disaster Response storage facility is being constructed at the Lenakel Hospital site in Tafea together with new malaria storage to be constructed in Malampa and Shefa Provinces. The total value of the health sector programme that has been approved by the Vanuatu Government’s Cyclone Pam Recovery Committee is 552 million vatu and is being funded through the Australian Government’s support for the National Recovery and Economic Strengthening Plan.
A major water and sanitation recovery project, being led by the Department of Geology, Mines and Water Resources, is addressing the destruction caused by Cyclone Pam and the additional stress on water supply caused by El Nino conditions. The project prioritises the repair and rehabilitation of rain water harvesting systems, gravity feed systems and hand pumps, along with the development of drinking water safety plans to ensure community ownership and maintenance of water sources. In some locations the project will also construct additional or alternative water supply to increase resilience to the impacts of climate variability and change, and natural hazards on water security. The New Zealand Government has provided 187 million vatu, which by agreement is to be disbursed by UNICEF, in addition to the 245 million vatu that will be funded through the Australian Government’s support for the National Recovery and Economic Strengthening Plan. A number of contractors have already been engaged under this project, with contracts to address water and sanitation needs of communities in Epi, Emau, Port Vila (as an extension of Port Vila Urban Development Project) and parts of Tanna. The deadline set by the Prime Minister for the completion of the projects is August 2016.
In the education sector, TC Pam caused widespread damage, with major damage to 279 classrooms and complete destruction of 187 classrooms across Tafea, Shefa, Penama and Malampa provinces. Education infrastructure projects in Tafea and Shefa, with a combined value of 780 million vatu have recently been finalised by the Ministry of Education and Training with the Governments of Australia and New Zealand. The projects aim to repair 61 damaged classrooms and construct 104 new classrooms in primary schools in Shefa and Tafea. These projects build on the recovery work undertaken through the Vanuatu Education Support Programme (VESP), which began rebuilding 18 classrooms in Tanna Island in 2016. A project is also underway to replace curriculum materials and equipment in schools identified under the materials survey as having lost materials and equipment due to cyclone damage. A total of 312 schools in cyclone-affected areas across the country will benefit from this project. The total value of the project that has been approved by the Vanuatu Government’s Cyclone Pam Recovery Committee is 127 million vatu. This project is being fundedby the New Zealand Government.
A key component of the World Bank’s Vanuatu Infrastructure Reconstruction and Improvement Project (VIRIP) will focus on the repair of education facilities in the four cyclone-affected provinces. The other infrastructure components to the project include road infrastructure and public buildings repair and upgrades. The total value of the project is USD 50 million, which will also include technical assistance and project implementation support.
Further projects to repair public buildings are being finalised with the Government of Australia and other donors. So far, significant progress has been made in the reconstruction works of the Malvatumauri National Council of Chief’s Nakamal in Port Vila. The Chief’s Nakamal sustained tremendous damage to its walls and roof due to Cyclone Pam. The reconstruction project with a total value of 23 million vatu, aims to restore this building of great cultural importance. The project that began in April this year is expected to be completed by October 2016, thanks to the swift implementation of the project so far and the collaboration of the network of Chiefs around the country.
In the agricultural sector, a total of five recovery projects are being led by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity, through the five respective departments. The projects are aimed at restoring livelihoods and improving food security. Activities include the deployment of fish activation devices (FADs), fishing gear, solar freezers and training, livestock de-stocking and re-stocking, the distribution of seeds, planting material and bucket irrigation systems in selected islands, the development of a seeds policy, an emergency response planning for pest and disease outbreaks and the upgrade of pest and disease information system. The total value of the projects that have been approved by the Vanuatu Government’s Cyclone Pam Recovery Program Committee is 209 million vatu and the projects are to be funded by the Australian Government.
Tourism has also received a boost through the launch of the Tourism Marketing project, a campaign aimed at the Australia and New Zealand markets that is currently being implemented by the Vanuatu Tourism Office (VTO). This recovery project supported by the Vanuatu Government, Australian Government and New Zealand Government, has recently been launched following the completion of the repair works to the Bauerfield International Airport at the beginning of May 2016. Australia and New Zealand have contributed a combined 110 million vatu, whilst the Vanuatu Government has contributed 70 million vatu and the private sector 7 million vatu.
In order to implement recovery projects, the Vanuatu Government, with the support of the Australian Government, is investing in strengthening project management capacity of the ministries, creating additional work and training opportunities for Ni-Vanuatu workers. The total value of support being provided for additional project staff is 133 million vatu.
“The PRC is doing its best to expedite the implementation of projects as expected by the people and the Government, and it is important for all sectors implementing to avoid delays. We have summoned a number of Heads of Departments to ensure that administrative processes are not used as a way of justifying lack of inaction on the part of the Heads of departments and Ministry administrations. We are still finding that some departments are slow in implementing their projects but my Committee will not accept any unnecessary delays. The Prime Minister is receiving constant update on how far implementations are going at the moment. And where there are delays in departments and Ministries, the Prime Minister is taking this matter directly to the Ministers responsible’, PRC Chairman, Hon Johnny Koanapo Rasou.