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By Staff Reporter : PNG Today

Vanuatu Govt signs contract with aid donors and aid agencies on water recovery after Cyclone Pam

The Vanuatu Government has signed a contractual agreement on Water Recovery with donor partners and agencies.

This is part of efforts continue to bring about normalcy to the wellbeing of the people who suffered the aftermath of category 5 Tropical Cyclone Pam.

It was a year ago, between 12th and 14th of March when Cyclone Pam struck Vanuatu and caused massive damage to the country, including the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector. Rainwater harvesting systems were destroyed with the roofs and gutters flying off, piped systems were damaged due to landslides and falling trees, open wells were polluted with debris and systems electric operated stopped functioning due to lack of power. Sanitation was damaged with the damage to the super structure and collapsing of the pits. The World Bank estimated the recovery needs for the next 4 years at 936 million Vatu in its Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA)

At the signing yesterday, Minister of Lands who is responsible for water resources, Ralph Regenvanu said this recovery started from day one after the cyclone. He said with support of the WASH cluster members, relief activities commenced immediately. He said in the first days the focus was on providing immediate relief such as; distributions of WASH kits, water trucking in areas without running water. He said these activities transformed into emergency repairs and the deployment of generators to operate electric water pumps, adding that the long term repairs and recovery started with providing long terms solutions to the damaged systems.

All these activities were being coordinated by the Department of Water with support of UNICEF. To date 58,000 people have been reached with repairs to their water systems. I would like to appreciate the contributions of the whole sector for achieving this and following the direction provided by the Department of Water.

The recovery phase is aimed at, not to bring back the systems to the original state, but “build back better”. Systems should be build back that they are more resilient. This means the systems are less vulnerable towards future natural disasters. For example piped systems with the pipes laying on the ground, should be fully buried while undertaking the repairs to the system. Communities are consulted with the use of “drinking water safety planning”, to undertake their own risk assessment and lead their own improvement program. This will increase the ownership and appropriateness of the repairs.

Minister Regenvanu told the donor partners and agencies that the signing is the first phase of Government of Vanuatu recovery project with the NGO partners in the WASH sector.

“These contracts cover the work in the Shepherds, Tanna and peri-urban Port Vila with a value of these contracts are 63 million Vatu. This is the first phase, and sub-sequent contracts are expected to cover a total value of 277,837,345 vatu of which contracts are expected to be awarded to the NGO partners and the private sector.  This is a new phase in the recovery phase as it gives an increased control and coordination for the Government of Vanuatu to steer the recovery process”, he said.

To ensure an effective management of these contracts, the minister said the Department of Water is establishing a project management unit. “This unit will be held accountable to the planning, managing and monitoring the recovery projects in the water sector. The Department of water will be overseeing the recovery work by increasing its presence on the ground with additional staff at the provinces. The progress report by the partners will be validated by the provincial officers in collaboration with the provincial authorities”.

“These developments should be seen as a great opportunity for the Government of Vanuatu.  With the strengthening of the Department of Water, it will be better equipped to take up a stronger role within the water sector. A role that will be important to play with the ongoing climate changes, causing more cyclones, droughts and floods which will continue to affect the water security of the country”. The minister responsible for water resources said.

“I would like to thank the New Zealand MFAT for being a long term partner in the WASH sector and being the first to supporting the Government of Vanuatu in the WASH recovery. We also would like to thank the Australian DFAT for committing support to the WASH recovery. UNICEF, for their technical support to the sector, being side by side with the government providing assistance in analysis, planning, management and monitoring. We also would like to thank the NGO partners for their commitment and willingness to be guided by the Government and undertake contracts on behalf of the Government of Vanuatu”.

Mr Regenvanu thanked all of their contributions. “It is because of our close partnerships and your commitment, that we are able to guide and implement the national recovery program in the WASH sector”, he concluded.

Source: LoopVanuatu

Posted by Staff Reporter : PNG Today on 3:39 PM. Filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Share this Article


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