In June this year 3 SEIA Committee members visited Vanuatu to assess the need for solar equipment on the islands of Tongoa and Efate and they were not prepared for the amount of destruction they were about to see.
Brick buildings were ripped off the foundation (photos above show 2 school buildings), iron steel trusses bend, iron sheets, hardwood trusses, and equipment were found more than 50 meters between destroyed banana plants and palms. Foreign Aid has moved on to other disaster areas and the people of Vanuatu are trying to rebuild their lives. An incredible hard task as the meagre income that they used to make is affected by the loss of banana and palm plantations as well as the loss of vegetable beds, their main goods to be sold at the markets on the bigger islands.
On Tongoa the majority of households have no electricity. The lucky schools that had a small solar system to provide some lights and maybe even running a laptop and printer are now faced with teaching in dark classrooms where there still is a building left that can be used or teaching in tents, generously provided by Unicef.
The first recipients of donated solar equipment are 2 schools on Tongoa Island and a Health Center on Efate
Saupia Health Center on Efate, north-east of Port Vila looks after hundreds of people and is most used by women requiring pre- and post natal care as well as giving birth at the center. Due to the cyclone all but one building including solar equipment has been damaged and in the one being used only a lightbulb in each room is managable, no fridge, no fans.
It was very difficult to choose just 3 projects and only consulation was thatAustralian Solar Installers have generously donated goods and are still sending donations to the warehouse enabling us to assist more later in the year.
Thank you to Isabelle and Paul from the Ratua Foundation for their generous donation of a charter plane, their time given and the wonderful lunch provided through the Chief Morrison, not to forget the bottles of water as there is no fresh water supply on Tongao.