Vanuatu recovers from the cyclone

Cyclone Pam was Vanuatu's strongest storm since records began

But people aren't helpless in the face of climate change. There's a lot we can do.

Back in April 2015 Cyclone Pam hit the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu. It was the most powerful storm yet recorded in the islands, and it was devastating.

But of course people aren’t helpless. Patrick Joseph on the island of Efate had trained to prepare his community for disasters like this, ‘We put sandbags and stones on the roofs because we weren’t sure if the houses would be strong,’ he said.  After the cyclone Patrick organised a group of young people to rebuild the community meeting house.

The community came together and started working. They prioritised the route to the health centre, clearing the road of debris, trees and power lines so people had access in an emergency. A student named Ashley Arthur led this part of the work.

Talking about his hopes after completing his training, Ashley said, ‘It’s my dream to empower young people, to give them ownership to bring change to this community.’

There’s a lot people can do to prepare for climate-related disasters like cyclones, and a lot people can do to rebuild afterwards, working together as communities. These skills are going to be needed.

Climate change doesn’t make cyclones more likely, but warmer sea and air makes them more likely to be more intense when they do happen. Also as the sea level rises it means floods are more likely to reach further inland, and sea levels have risen by around 20 centimeters since 1870 (according to NASA).

If you’d like to take action on climate change in whatever country you live in, join Renew Our World.

 

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