Tens of thousands of people were left at risk after the island nation of Vanuatu was battered by a monster cyclone which tore through the South Pacific island nation, flattening buildings and killing at least sixteen people.

Over 260,000 were reported as being in the disaster zone when the category 5 cyclone hit on 13 March 2015

Cyclone Pam was reported as being the worst disaster to strike the nation with approximately half the population of Vanuatu affected (170,000) and at least 82,000 of these are children.

Due to the severe destruction and the urgent need for support, an emergency response team lead by Project Managers, Saeed Khan and Taupheeq Omar was sent by Muslim Aid Australia (MAA) to deliver immediate and essential relief to the victims.

Muhammad Mustafa, Imam and teacher of Tanaa Island mosque (pictured behind) in Ilew Village, Vanuatu.

Muhammad Mustafa, Imam and teacher of Tanaa Island mosque (pictured behind) in Ilew Village, Vanuatu.

The MAA response team first travelled to Port Villa to conduct a needs assessment and develop a list of beneficiaries and their locations. Once the list was developed the team sourced food from a local supplier and began the immediate delivery to families in 10 different villages in Port Villa. Each family received 25Kgs of rice, 24 cans of Tuna, 24 packets of breakfast crackers and 20 packets of Noodles to last for 1 month.

After the distribution was completed in Port Villa, the MAA response team sent essential food supplies to Tanna Island, which was regarded as the worst affected island in Vanuatu.

Due to the difficulty of reaching Tanna Island, aid was very slow to reach the people. Muslim Aid Australia was one of the first NGOs to reach those areas.

According to Project Manager, Saeed Khan, “Essentially we are committed to providing support for the families affected for the next 3-4 months until their crops can grow back and they can sustain themselves.”

Muslim Aid Australia aid efforts: Saeed Khan (right) with supplies.

Muslim Aid Australia aid efforts: Saeed Khan (right) with supplies.

Muslim Aid Australia is currently developing long-term projects to help rebuild homes and schools.

If you would like to help continue the relief efforts, please donate at www.muslimaid.org.au or call the office on 1800 100 786.