Vanuatu needs our help to have clean water again
WHEN Cyclone Pam tore through the Pacific, causing widespread devastation in Vanuatu, it not only destroyed homes, schools and businesses, but robbed children of the most basic needs of life - food and water.
Now a Sunshine Coast group is facing a race against time to buy water filters that could supply a whole village with clean water for less than $400.
According to UNICEF, as many as 82,000 children are in need of humanitarian assistance.
264,000 people were in the disaster zone when the category 5 cyclone hit on March 13, and continued over the islands throughout Saturday 14th.
It is estimated that half the population of Vanuatu have been affected (171,000).
Andy Chapman, who was a school principal in Vanuatu's capital of Port Vila for three years, said he and others had organised to send a shipping container of supplies this week.
But before it goes, he wants to add water filters which are vital for ensure clean drinking water, stopping the spread of disease.
Mr Chapman said more than 30 members of his church had family or friends in Vanuatu.
He recently told the Daily: "We've got friends all over the islands that we won't hear from for months because communications are knocked out.''
Mr Chapman. said the Sunshine Coast and Vanuatu communities shared a long history that dated back to late 19th century
The process known as "blackbirding" saw many thousands of South Sea Islanders removed from their homes, sometimes forcibly, to work without pay on Queensland sugar cane growing areas.
Mr Chapman said living standards in Vanuatu were already low and urged Coast locals to dig deep for aid efforts in Vanuatu.
"They're our nearest neighbours ... we've got to love our neighbours and look after them."
Just $380, will buy a LifeStraw water filter.
Local businesses and club members are urged to band together to buy one.
Donations can be made to:
BSB: 084 846
Account 12045 2802
Ref: Help Vanuatu
You can also visit the group on Facebook. Just search help Vanuatu.