The island country in the South Pacific Ocean – located east of Australia and west of Fiji – is surrounded by seawater, and has very limited access to freshwater.
The islanders are mostly dependant on the rainwater they collect in water tanks. When cyclone Harold struck the island, their water tanks were destroyed and their water supply was gone.
When World Vision arrived on the scene, the most pressing emergency was to rebuild the water catchment system by immediately installing new water tanks. When they had finished, 1,535 people in Vanuatu’s Penama province had a way to collect, store and access clean drinking water.
"I am so grateful for the catchment, because without it we would have to walk long distances to get a little water,” says Taringos Virameme Felix, a 67-year-old man from Penama province.
The islanders were already suffering a job shortage due to COVID-19. After the hurricane, they found themselves without the food and income from their vegetable gardens. They were also forced to travel long distances to collect ground water from the other end of the island.
“I am so happy because our children and women can collect water easier now," says Felix.
The accessible, clean water supply will also encourage regular hand washing, which is essential to prevent the spread of COVID-19.