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OceansWatch to aid Cyclone Pam victims

Cyclone Pam has left a huge amount of damage in its wake through the North East Solomon Islands (Temotu) and Vanuatu. Some lives lost, many houses damaged or completely destroyed. Fruit trees gone, gardens washed away or covered in debris, just root crops left in most instances. In Vanuatu the emergency has been big enough to trigger International Aid, so whilst the job is massive, already hundreds of volunteers and many planes are arriving with Aid supplies. Temotu has been affected as badly as Vanuatu, but as less people live there it has not triggered an International Aid effort, leaving the communities there with little help. As I write a week after the cyclone hit them disaster teams have not arrived and OceansWatch are the only group to have done an on the ground assessment. OceansWatch, being a relatively small organisation feels that it would be best to have a larger impact in Temotu than a small impact over the whole of Vanuatu so we are currently concentrating our efforts in Temotu. We will also help the more inaccessible northern group of Islands in Vanuatu if they have unmet Aid needs.

OceansWatch New Zealand is collecting funds for the cyclone relief effort and is being guided as to how the money should be spent by their Solomon Islands directors. To date funds have used to pay for a needs assessment of Fenualoa Island, where we have a good knowledge of all villages and a strong network. Communities there need tarpaulins and emergency food now. They also need chain saws to clear fallen trees from houses and gardens, seeds to replant and some roofing iron for their water tank catchments. We expect other agencies to supply the tarpaulins and the government is arranging emergency food supplies. OceansWatch has decided to provide chainsaws, so that villages can make an immediate start to clearing and replanting. All safety gear and petrol will also be provided. We shall supply a chainsaw mill too so that bigger trees can be utilised for re-building supplies. We are also paying for local seeds to be sent from Honiara so that replanting can begin as soon as possible.

As soon as the cyclone season is over and it’s safe to depart New Zealand, OceansWatch yachts and cruising yachts supporting our cause will be departing New Zealand loaded with Aid supplies and specialist teams to help our friends get back on their feet again and to develop resilience to future negative climate change impacts.


In 2015, to support community resilience OceansWatch will:

  • Undertake marine surveys to gauge the effect of the cyclone and to locate the best possible places for resilient marine reserves. We work closely with local resource owners when doing this work as part of our Reef Guardian Program
  • Undertake Climate Change community needs assessments and adaptation plans to help these vulnerable communities adapt to the effect of Climate Change and climate induced disasters such as Cyclone Pam.
  • Assist in the development of Sustainable Livelihood projects so that communities can self fund their own adaptation strategies and development.

OceansWatch needs funds to support our cyclone relief work (ALL donations go directly to fund our aid work, nothing is spent on wages or admin) and we also need people with yachting experience to assist us in New Zealand right now.

OceansWatch is a registered charity in New Zealand, the Solomon Islands, the USA and the UK.  More information about our work is available at our website

Our cyclone relief fundraiser is here

OceansWatch offices can be contacted for comment at, skype skipperchrisbone or phone +64 9 4344066


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