In region Vanuatu and in group Vanuatu

2020 Vanuatu TC Harold

Working Groups

2020-08 Factsheet

August 2020
CW, L-R (VRCS 2020, VRCS 2020, CARE/Valerie Fernandez 2020, ADRA Vanuatu 2020) Map is from NDMO Vanuatu


On 6th April 2020, TC Harold made landfall in Vanuatu as a category 5 cyclone, causing widespread destruction across Sanma, Penama, and Malampa Provinces as well as the northern islands of Shefa Province. The Vanuatu Shelter Cluster, led by the Public Works Department with support from IFRC (remote support from Fiji) was convened on 6th April 2020 to coordinate the shelter response. 

The main outputs of the coordination support are as follows:

  • Continuous support to partners and production of 3Ws, sitreps and maps.
  • Development of Vanuatu Shelter Cluster Recovery Guidance
  • Redesign of guidance note for the use, reuse, repair and disposal of tarpaulins.
  • Revision of the Environmental Checklist for Shelter Response
  • Support and preparation of the Shelter Cluster lessons learned presentation for the NDMO Lessons Learned Workshop
  • Development of the Recovery Shelter Guidance paper and input into the Vanuatu Post Distribution Needs Assessment (PDNA) report, and Vanuatu Recovery Strategy 2020-2023

Coverage against targets


Shelter Cluster agencies involved in this response through assessments, distribution of relief stocks, trainings/ awareness include CARE Vanuatu, Vanuatu Red Cross Society (VRCS), World Vision, International Organisation for Migration (IOM), The Butterfly Trust, Save the Children, Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), Vanuatu Skills Partnership (TVET), Caritas, Rotary Club, Vanuatu Climate Action Network (VCAN) and ShelterBox.

Based on information made available to the Shelter Cluster Coordination Team:

  • 17,248 HH have received emergency shelter assistance from Vanuatu Shelter Cluster member agencies in the form of tarpaulins plus:
    - shelter tool kits/ shelter repair materials including tools and fixings (reaching 12,555HH)
    - essential household items such as kitchen sets, sleeping mats, blankets, clothing & solar lamps (reaching 8,676 HH).
  • Addtionally, emergency shelter stocks for approx. 3,080 HH were consigned to the NDMO from overseas government donations. The distribution of these items has not been reported to the cluster.

This brings the overall potential assistance of the Vanuatu Shelter Cluster in relief item distribution to 20,328 HH.

The target # of HHs: 21,000 HH (damage data)

Estimated response gap: c. 672 HH

Technical support has been provided to 1,230 HH (this includes safe shelter awareness, trainings, and coconut thatch workshops).

In addition to supporting coordination of the emergency response, the Shelter Cluster Coordination Team also led the development of the Reovery Shelter Guidance (see link below), and contributed to the drafting of the Post Disaster Needs Assessment, and Vanuatu Recovery Strategy. 

Gaps / challenges

In the 'Summary of Shelter Cluster Activities' (find the link in the key links below), there are still some significant gaps identified when comparing available damage data with the assistance provided. Shelter Cluster member agencies are encouraged to investigate the remaining gaps highlighted in this table to support the recovery of these households. 

Shelter Cluster member agencies are also encouraged to continue with recovery activities and support communities with preparedness for the upcoming cyclone season beginning November 2020.

Listed below are a few challenges that were faced by Shelter Cluster member agencies during this response:

  • Limited external support due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Locally available human resources were stretched beyond their capacity, and relied somewhat on remote technical support. 
  • Reduced number of relief items available due to COVID-19 related restrictions and delay in getting them to the affected communities due to strict border controls.
  • Challenging to source relief items in a time effective manner. Many agencies reported procuring items locally, which exhausted the local supply chain in some cases.
  • Holistic approach to the emergency response, incorporating aspects of WASH, Gender & protection & social distancing was essential now more than ever, considering the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • While there was community awareness and sharing of key resources to promote hygiene, practicing social distancing was difficult to implement during distributions.
  • Accessibility to some remote rural communities was extremely challenging and resource and time intensive as they could only be reached by chopper or on foot.