Tropical Cyclone Harold made landfall in Vanuatu on 6 April 2020 as a Category 5 storm with winds of more than 200km/hour and tore through Sanma, Malampa and Penama provinces. Some 123,000 people, most living in traditional housing in dispersed, rural communities and reliant on subsistence farming for their livelihoods, have been severely impacted by the cyclone. Food crops, water systems, homes, health centres and schools across the three provinces have been damaged or destroyed.
The Communications and Community Engagement (CCE) Sub-Cluster was established with support from the CDAC Network in partnership with CARE Vanuatu and Ground Truth Solutions with funding from the Australian Government in 2019 with a mandate to address this gap. Co-led by the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) and the Vanuatu Red Cross with a National Coordinator supported by CARE Vanuatu, the CCE Sub-Cluster brings together representatives from government, media, telecommunications, and non government organisations and is tasked with providing long-term disaster preparedness and response support to the national disaster response system.
Tropical Cyclone Harold was the first time the CCE Sub-Cluster was activated in an emergency, and its preparedness work put to the test. This photo essay outlines what happened.