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VANUATU: Four cruise ships bring in vital disaster aid supplies

Relief supplies being distributed at Eton village on Efate island this week. Image: Vanuatu Daily Post/Vanuatu Red Cross

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Item: 9175

Len Garae
PORT VILA (Vanuatu Daily Post/Pacific Media Watch): Carnival Australia is marshalling the resources of its Australian-based cruise ships to deliver desperately needed humanitarian aid to Vanuatu still reeling from the devastation of Cyclone Pam.

Four ships - P&O Cruises’ Pacific Dawn and Pacific Pearl and Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Legend and Carnival Spirit - are either on the way or preparing to go to Vanuatu.

Carnival Legend offloads aid supplied in Santo. Image: Vanuatu Daily PostCarnival Legend became one of the first ships to arrive in Vanuatu on Thursday, delivering bottled water, a generator and other goods from the ship to Santo, which was spared the worst effects of the catastrophic cyclone.

Carnival Spirit has also departed from Sydney carrying more aid for the cyclone-ravaged region.

Pacific Dawn is expected to become the first cruise ship carrying humanitarian aid to reach Port Vila when it arrives here on Wednesday after departing from Brisbane this weekend.

Pacific Pearl leaves Sydney tomorrow and is due in Port Vila next Saturday.

Working with Save the Children, Pacific Dawn and Pacific Pearl will be carrying numerous pallets of vitally needed supplies including food, bottled water and tarpaulins for shelter in stricken island communities.

Families contact
“The two immediate calls are for humanitarian purposes only but they will also enable our Ni-Vanuatu crew on our ships to make face to face contact with their families for the first time since the cyclone hit,” said Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry.

“We look forward to returning to Vanuatu on a regular basis because cruise tourism is so important to the economic wellbeing of the country and its people.”

On the way to Port Vila, Pacific Dawn will make her scheduled cruise calls to Noumea and Lifou.

Port Vila remains in a state of emergency and Pacific Dawn’s call will be limited to the few hours needed to unload the shipment of humanitarian aid. Passengers will not disembark given the difficult situation on the ground.

“We are confident that our guests will understand this knowing that they are playing an active part in delivering help to our friends in Vanuatu,” Sherry said.

Pacific Pearl will also carry humanitarian aid when she departs from Sydney tomorrow. Carnival Australia ships will continue to carry aid shipments to Vanuatu as the country embarks on long term reconstruction.

Plans are also in place for benefit concerts to be held onboard the P&O Cruises fleet with the proceeds devoted to Vanuatu relief.

The scale of the emergency in Vanuatu is unprecedented in the South Pacific and the marshalling of Carnival Australia’s fleet resources is part of the company’s overall response to the humanitarian crisis.

The response involves a contribution of $300,000 to Save the Children’s relief efforts comprising $150,000 from Carnival Australia and $150,000 from Carnival Corporation chairman Micky Arison through his family foundation.

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Pacific Media Watch

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Pacific Media Watch is compiled for the Pacific Media Centre as a regional media freedom and educational resource by a network of journalists, students, stringers and commentators.
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