Recovering after Cyclone Harold in Vanuatu

Patrick's Story

Patrick is a kava farmer, and a father of six who lives with his wife and children in the coastal village of Vatsari.

In April 2020, Catergory 5 Tropical Cyclone Harold hit the island of Vanuatu. It tore through peoples homes and destroyed villages. But it also ripped through the gardens and battered the plants. Many of the kava cash crops were destroyed or became rotten.

“It will take a long time for us to replant, how can we replant, all the kava is no good, we are starting again from zero.”

Many families including Patrick’s, rely on kava crops to make a living. With the kava destroyed, Patrick worries about how he can support his family. The loss of income had the greatest impact on his children’s schooling. There are very few high schools in the rural areas of Vanuatu. Many children go to boarding schools in the larger areas of the country, but this can be costly. Families like Patrick’s plant kava crops to pay for their children’s education. But now it will take many years until they can make a decent living from their gardens again.

Patrick Buleban with his wife Sebastiana and son John outside their home.
Patrick Buleban with his wife Sebastiana and son John outside their home.
Sebastiana and son John outside their home.
Sebastiana and son John outside their home.

Cyclone Harold also destroyed many homes. Luckily, Patrick built a strong house which became a safe house for 63 people when the cyclone hit. Now, his community has come together again to share food, clothes, and shelter.

“When we came out in the morning it was like a desert. One family went and their house was not there. All their things from the kitchen, their clothes, I don’t know where they were.”

Patrick and his community have also received tarpaulin and tool kits from ShelterBox. The shelter will protect families while they rebuild their new homes. The tools will help rebuild their gardens as they wait for their crops to return.

Thanks to your support, Patrick and his family were one of 4000 families in Vanuatu who received aid. You’re helping families rebuild their homes, and their lives.

Each family received tarpaulins, rope, solar lights, kitchen sets, shelter kits, and tools. Patrick said he was most thankful for the tarpaulins and the tool kit. He is using them to rebuild their home and their garden.

Thank you for making this possible. Thank you for giving us 2 million reasons to be grateful.

Patrick's son John, holding a hammer
John is ready to help rebuild!