11 June 2015

Learning to smile again after Cyclone Pam



Three-year-old Rachel just a day after Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Pam devastated Vanuatu.,
and three months on. © UNICEF PACIFIC/2015/McGarry


We first met three-year-old Rachel just a day after Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Pam devastated Vanuatu. Three months on, we go back to check in on her. 

Cyclone Pam three months on: A school on the road to recovery

Ellen, a 13 year old student from St Joseph school near Port Vila stands outside the tent
that has been her classroom since cyclone Pam destroyed part of the school. If not for the
shelter supplied by UNICEF, students would have been sent home on a rotating basis.
© UNICEF PACIFIC/2015/McGarry

Three months after Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu with devastating force, Vila North School is a study in contrasts. Children released for break scream with delight as they scamper from tents set up as temporary classrooms, past the destroyed parts of their school. Builders work around them, replacing the roofing on classrooms and rebuilding destroyed facilities as teachers plan their lessons from a temporary office inside a repurposed shipping container. Students and teachers can see the progress around them – but much remains to be done. 

23 May 2015

The best kind of traffic jam

 Long line of pick-up trucks loaded with tents and other education emergency
supplies ready for distribution to 11,000 children in more than 120
cyclone-affected early childhood centers and primary schools
Normally I dislike traffic jams, but I couldn't be happier to see this one. It doesn't matter that it’s 30 degrees Celsius here on Tanna Island, Vanuatu and that I’m drenched in sweat; seeing a long line of pick-up trucks loaded with tents and other education emergency supplies ready for distribution to 11,000 children in more than 120 cyclone-affected early childhood centers and primary schools makes my day. 

14 May 2015

A magic suitcase to bring back hopes and dreams

By Elodie Berthe -14 May 2014


After a short drive from the UNICEF office in Port Vila, through streets lined with homes and shops in various stages of post-cyclone reconstruction, we arrive at Fresh Wota Field; a big empty grassland with two goal posts. Small houses of different shapes and colours surround the young people engaged in an intense game of football despite the equally intense heat. 

We park under a tree to escape the heat and wait … and wait … for our scheduled rendezvous. We talk to the football players, make some phone calls and, just when we are about to leave, there they are; fifteen children carrying balls, water, a bright blue UNICEF bag and a big metal box.

Children of Fresh Wota, Port Vila, carrying the recreation kits distributed by UNICEF
© UNICEF PACIFIC/2015/Elodie Berthe