West Papua independence leader Benny Wenda has launched an urgent appeal to help those affected by Cyclone Pam which has caused much loss of life and destruction throughout many Pacific nations.
“I urgently need help for my Brothers and Sisters in the Pacific particularly in Vanuatu and other islands who have lost everything due to the cyclone disaster we have all seen on the TV news," Wenda, the Spokesperson for the United Liberation Movement of West Papua, said.
“The Vanuatu and Pacific islands people have always been strong supporters of West Papua and they have helped us in our time of need.
“Now it is their days of need and we should respond generously and donate funds to relive the suffering and damage with humanitarian assistance and money to rebuild and buy urgently needed supplies.
“Please donate generously to my appeal”
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The Australian trade union movement's international development organisation, Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA, is also holding an appeal to assist local partners working with communities affected by Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu.
A Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA statement said, “Cyclone Pam tore through Vanuatu causing widespread destruction displacing 70% of the population and destroying 90% of all buildings. One of the largest cyclones to ever hit the Pacific, Cyclone Pam has also displaced 45% of the population in Tuvalu and caused destruction in Kiribati and the Solomon Islands.
“80% of Vanuatu's population depend on agriculture and fisheries for their livelihoods. The cyclone has had a severe impact on these livelihoods:
• Root crops, which make up 80% of local food source and are the staple food, have been severely damaged.
• There has been total destruction of leafy vegetables (high in protein content).
• Extensive loss of planting materials and farming tools.
• Significant damage to fishing boats and implements (nets and engines).
• Small livestock - primarily pigs - will suffer a critical shortage of livestock feed (coconuts, grasses and shrubs).
• Extensive damage to coral reefs will impact on fisheries and acquaculture for up to 10 - 15 years.
“Once the initial emergency has passed, farmers and fishers will need help to replant their gardens and orchards, replace their lost seed stocks, and re-establish aquaculture production.
“Globally droughts, floods, storms or tsunamis cost agriculture $70 billion over 10 years between 2003-2013. Climate change will increase the frequency and severity of these events - with long-term impacts on people's livelihoods.
“How will donations be used?
“Union Aid Abroad - APHEDA will be working through local partner organisations, such as the Melanesian Farmers First Network (MFFN), to support the ongoing recovery process in Vanuatu. APHEDA has worked with MFFN partner organisations across the Pacific since 2002 to support rural communities to develop sustainable livelihoods and greater self-reliance.”
To donate call 1800 888 674 or click here.