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Tropical Cyclone (TC) Pam struck Vanuatu on 13 March, causing widespread damage across all six
(Shefa, Tafea, Malampa, Penama, Sanma and Torba) and affecting an estimated 188,000 people, more than half of the country’s estimated population of 272,000. To gain immediate clarity on the impact of the disaster, the Government of Vanuatu, supported by humanitarian partners, led joint initial rapid needs assessments to the most affected areas of the island chain from 18 to 24 March. These assessments found that Shefa and Tafea, where all of the 11 confirmed fatalities occurred, were the hardest-hit provinces.

Information collected during this first phase was detailed enough to inform immediate response planning and the development of the Flash Appeal launched on 24 April. However, it lacked the depth to advise medium and longer-term planning of humanitarian response and early recovery. The Government of Vanuatu, therefore, decided to undertake Second Phase Harmonized Assessments at the community level in the five most-severely affected provinces of Shefa, Tafea, Malampa, Penama and Torba. From 1 to 8 April, 25 government-led teams assessed 23 islands in those provinces. The teams assessed humanitarian needs across six thematic areas: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH); Shelter; Health and Nutrition; Education; Gender and Protection; and Early Recovery, Agriculture and Livelihoods.


The main objectives of the assessment were the following:

  • To gather critical information in key Clusters/Thematic areas, which would provide a comprehensive picture of humanitarian situation in the affected area, highlighting residual humanitarian needs and gaps in life-saving assistance, as well as greater understanding of overall damage and loss, which will feed into early recovery and longer term reconstruction planning.
  •  To enable partners to plan for immediate and longer-term response, inform early recovery and feed into the Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) process.