The UN humanitarian coordinator for Vanuatu, Osnat Lubrani, on Monday warned of a potential "second emergency" due to the destruction of 90 percent of crops by tropical cyclone Pam, and urged strengthened efforts to help the people in need, a UN spokesman said.
Two weeks after the tropical cyclone struck Vanuatu, Lubrani visited several islands in Tafea Province, and said that there is a possibility of long-term food insecurity on communities that rely heavily on farming as an income source, Farhan Haq, the deputy UN spokesman, said at a daily news briefing here.
Lubrani warned that "a secondary emergency" could hit Vanuatu. The cyclone destroyed more than 90 percent of crops, leaving a population that heavily relies on subsistence agriculture without a source of income and the possibility of long-term food insecurity.
The United Nations and its partners have started to provide families with seed kits to ensure long-term food security, and will support the government in restoring community infrastructure and reviving economic activities.
"Aid agencies have started to provide families with seed kits, and will support government efforts in restoring community infrastructure and reviving economic activities," Haq said.
The United Nations is seeking nearly 30 million U.S. dollars to help 166,000 cyclone-affected people for three months, he said, adding that to date, 9.4 million dollars has been funded since the launch of the Flash Appeal on March 24, but more support is needed.
"It is heart breaking to see the extraordinary scale of devastation," Lubrani said while touring the island of Tafea.
On March 13, tropical cyclone Pam swept through the archipelago, wiping out homes and infrastructure, destroying the electricity network and razing crops in the mainly agricultural country. So far, aid has reached all 22 storm-affected islands of the small island country, despite significant logistical challenges due to the geographic spread of the archipelago.