Our disaster response team is on its way to Vanuatu, to assess the impact of Tropical Cyclone Lusi and plan how best to help animals and communities affected.
Since it struck, Cyclone Lusi has travelled the length of Vanuatu, impacting all six provinces of the country. More than 100,000 people have been affected, which is over a third of Vanuatu’s whole population. Several deaths and missing people have been reported.
Animals in Vanuatu are especially at risk during storms like this one. Cattle in Vanuatu generally graze freely around coconut palm plantations, rather than being kept in pens. This means that when a storm hits there is nowhere for them to shelter from the trees, coconuts and other debris that fall – and they can be very easily injured. Pigs are sometimes provided with improved shelter, but often they are exposed to the same hazards.
The Ministry of Agriculture has requested WSPA’s assistance in assessing the situation and how to best respond to animals and their owners in the hardest hit areas.
Whilst our priority is always for the well-being of the animals, this work also has significant benefits for people. Nearly half the families in Vanuatu rely on their own animals and crops to survive. The average household has 9 cattle, and the country holds more than 60,000 pigs. Pigs play a big part in culture and society, as well as being relied upon for food and income. Helping these animals is therefore a significant part of the recovery process for the community.
We will be sure to keep you updated as we work alongside the people and animals in Vanuatu over the coming weeks.