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VANUATU: Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior brings relief to stranded isles

Greenpeace donates its environmental ship Rainbow Warrior to help distribute aid to remote cyclone-hit communities in Vanuatu. Image: Greenpeace collage

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Item: 9277

PORT VILA (Greenpeace Pacific/Pacific Media Watch): Greenpeace’s flagship vessel, the Rainbow Warrior, will help deliver relief to Vanuatu’s outlying islands, many of which are still stranded without electricity or basic living essentials.

Thousands of people are still in dire need of emergency shelter and goods, even two months after Cyclone Pam battered the island nation.

“We’re very thankful that Greenpeace is donating its ship, the Rainbow Warrior, to help distribute aid to our remote communities,” thed Director of the National Disaster Management Office in Port Vila, Shadrack Welegtabit, said.

“There are ongoing tireless efforts from many different organisations working to provide relief to Vanuatu and it’s people. But delivering aid to all of the nation's 23 worst affected islands has been a challenge because Vanuatu has limited vessels available to distribute relief to all affected islands and getting supplies around is a slow and tedious process.”

The Rainbow Warrior was due to docked at Port Vila today carrying goods supplied by partner organisations including tools, solar torches, clothing, kitchen utensils, stationery and books. Previous relief donations stuck in the nation’s capital will also be loaded onto the ship and taken to the most affected islands.

“We’ll be taking things to help people get back to normal life. Aid agencies on the ground have reported a desperate need for solar torches due to the sporadic power and electricity outages Vanuatu is experiencing. This will help provide light and safety to remote areas that have been destroyed by Cyclone Pam,” said Greenpeace Pacific spokesperson Matisse Walkden-Brown.

Freak storms
As a Fiji national, Walkden-Brown believes uniting the Pacific region in response to freak storms like Cyclone Pam is becoming more important as climate change drives increasingly severe weather events.

“Greenpeace is here with the Rainbow Warrior to stand in solidarity with the people of Vanuatu not only to assist with the ongoings efforts to rebuild their home, but to help amplify and multiply their voices,” Walkden-Brown said.

“Cyclone Pam was one of the most intense cyclones ever recorded. Increasingly severe storms are battering Pacific nations as a result of climate change. As Pacific Islanders, we have a right to stand up and challenge the world’s most polluting companies and nations. They are having a direct impact on our lives and homes,” she said.

“Pacific Island countries may be vulnerable to climate change, but we are also strong, loud and we have every right to challenge the global governance that has so far failed, putting our existence at risk,” Walkden-Brown said.

* Little Island Press is shortly publishing a book about the original Rainbiow Warrior, Eyes of Fire, by Pacific Media Centre director David Robie, who was a journalist on board in the weeks leading up to the bombing on 10 July 1985.

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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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