Call for Support of the Vanuatu Cyclone Survivors

Posted: March 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

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Here’s another round of a call for support for the Vanuatu Cyclone survivors. Friend and author James F. Coyle is on the ground there, and I’ve decided to give you his full report. I will say this up front: the Vanuatu people are usually a very happy people. The island has little to no crime, and the people are reported by all who travel there to be friendly. They are a hard-working people. I have personally known Jim for years. He helped me get my start in the whole ebook thing, and I owe him a great debt of gratitude. Okay, follows is Jim’s report. Please send any help you can:

“CYCLONE PAM – THE AFTERMATH

We all watched the progress of this large tropical storm slowly wending its way down the coast approaching our topical chain of Vanuatu Islands (situated between Australia and Fiji). It was predicted to climb to a Category 5 (the strongest type) but for 5 days had meandered down parallel to our coastline but around 150 miles offshore. The only major worry we all had was that it was about twice the diameter of the usual cyclone and was moving incredibly slowly….. around 4 mph instead of the usual 12-20 mph. It was expected to pass us off the coast according to all the computer models. Sometime early Friday morning the winds started to pick up severely and several of my wife’s workmates asked if they could ride out the cyclone sheltering with us. Their husbands were also security guards at the same shopping complex so we had about a dozen people (including kids) stacked in our house. We lived on the side of a hill but their shanties were on top of the hill above us. At that point the power had failed along with the internet connection so we had no idea what was happening. By about midday we realized we were in trouble. We did not know that this slow moving cyclone had changed direction and was moving directly towards us. Around 3pm the winds hit us full force but fortunately we were sheltered by the hill behind us. Slowly the winds changed direction and by 10pm that night were hitting us full on. They continued to grow in strength. The rains were seeping though our cyclone shutters and we spend till 5am mopping up buckets of water. At this time the wind gusts started to drop after 14 hours of intense activity. Around midday Saturday our guests felt it was safe enough to climb the hill to check on their houses. No surprise….. there was no trace of them! They were typical village huts but were never constructed to withstand cyclones. At that point we had no water supply as the reservoir pumps were run by electricity. We had no gas or phone-internet service either. It wasn’t until much later we discovered that out of the total Vanuatu population of 260,000 over 100,000 were homeless.

The locals live on rice, tinned fish (like Tuna) and vegetables. They all seem to have gardens (or access to one) but these were all destroyed. No garden can stand up to winds peaking close to 250 mph. Fortunately it kept raining and we were able to use all available containers to catch and store rainwater. All shops were shut as there was no electricity to operate the cash registers and the staff was too busy with their own problems anyway. We had stacked in some extra food so we figured we were Ok for a few days anyway, even with 12 extra mouths to feed. Now 14 days later we are running into problems. The banks are still not fully functional and the ATM machines are unpredictable. The locals are not able to work yet so they have run out of cash (they tend to live hand-to-mouth at the best of times). It is clearly going to take many months for things to return to semi-normal. Relief supplies are arriving from nearby countries but effective distribution of these is clearly proving to be a problem. My wife applied for emergency food 5 days ago and we haven’t seen any sign of it yet.

One of our temporary “boarders” was able to obtain some fuel for his van and we drove around to various shops that had reopened to purchase food. The devastation we saw was breathtaking but the locals were tackling the problem themselves……. they weren’t exactly sitting around waiting for government assistance like they do in other Island countries. The NiVans (local Vanuatu citizens) are a very proud Christian race of people and work together to help each other.

All the roadside food markets are closed down as the locals have no food to sell.

Many expats (like myself) have requested friends to send donations so we can collect these at Western Union and immediately buy food for the local NiVan contacts we are looking after.

The situation has become quite critical. I would not wish these 240mph gusts on even my worst enemy!!!!!

The thing we are short of is cash…. If you’d like to contribute please send a donation via Western Union to –

James Coyle – Bukura Estate, Port Vila, Vanuatu.

You can either send this from a WU shop-outlet or use a credit or debit card online. (Google up Western Union Online for your country). When you send this please email me the MTCN tracking number so that I can collect it.

Email – mindtech@vanuatu.com.vu

Any donation would be seriously appreciated right now…. We have a lot of mouths to feed!!

Thanks

James F. Coyle

……………………………………………………….

PAYMENT METHOD

The banks are hopeless at the moment…. Short staffed and lengthy queues.

The only effective international funds transfer is via Western Union. Most post offices in Oz and NZ have an inbuilt Western Union terminal.

Credit or Debit card payment via Western Union. (You do this online from home).

Paypal does not operate in our South Pacific Islands

………………………………………………………

PAYMENT AT A WESTERN UNION DEPOT OR OUTLET

You will find Western Union branches everywhere. Check your phone book for the closest branch. A lot of Post Offices now have a WU terminal.

Send payment to:

James Coyle

5 Bukura Estate

Port Vila

VANUATU

PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU SELECT VANUATU AS THE DESTINATION COUNTRY.

Once you transmit your payment please advise me immediately how you have sent it so I can track it down. Please advise senders name plus MTCN tracking number. This is most important.

………………………………..

CREDIT OR DEBIT CARD VIA WESTERN UNION.

If you want to pay by credit or Debit card you can use Western Union as an intermediary. This is a totally secure and safe transaction. WU never divulge the credit card numbers to the recipient. You do this online (in the comfort of your own home) by accessing the WU website and selecting the county you live in.

The local website for WU is – http://www.westernunion.co.nz/nz/send-money-online – From this NZ site you can select any country you live in from the menu at the top. Register with them – this is quick, easy and free. Then simply follow instructions to pay by credit or debit card. This is also one of the cheapest ways to pay.

PLEASE NOTE: After you complete your WU online transaction it may take several hours before your official receipt arrives by email.

Almost all of my clients use the WU service as the bank TT involves a lot of paperwork and time spent in a queue at the bank. The WU transactions are generally simpler and quicker. Also if paying by credit card the transaction is about 30-40% cheaper than physically walking into a WU office.”

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