Friday, April 3, 2015

Cyclone Pam

Cyclone Pam came and went and left a lot of damage in her wake.  God protected all the people of our language group and no one was injured or killed during the category 5 storm.  Virtually everyone in our village lost at least one building, however. 

Community dining hall roof
My language helper Alice's house where her grand-daughters stay when school is in session. 
Houghton's language helper George's house in the distance.  There is a road here that the breadfruit branches are blocking.
George's house from the back.

Our new bamboo siding fell off the translation office and a tree fell on the front.  Only 1 cement sheet was busted though, and although 2 of the frame boards were broken, they can still be used.
Our brand new toolshed was completely undamaged but the old one, where all the tools still were, is the leaning building to the right.  All the mango crop for the season got blown off though.  :(
Matal looking out at the damage.
The tourist information house for all those who come to see the volcano.
Another view of the tourist info house.
My language helper, Lala's sleeping house and kitchen both sustained damage.
The brown you see in the middle of this picture is our friend Lily's roof.  The far right is the village well.
Another view of Lily's roof.
Lily's kitchen.
Our friend Marie's kitchen (left) and eating house (right).
The tree that fell on Massi's house (left) and Imkon's kitchen (right). 
This tree fell exactly between our friend Momon's kitchen, and Elder Harri's kitchen.
Tree down on Moti's sleeping house.
Jesiah, Yanik and Tekon playing in the tree that fell on the translation office.
My language helper, Mali's house on stilts was miraculously spared, but trees fell in the road right next to her house.
Taaso's house (left) and kitchen (under all the branches to the right).
Another view of Taaso's house.
Looking back toward Taaso's house.  He's in the turquoise shirt in the middle of the picture, walking on the tree that smashed his kitchen.
Another view of the translation office and all the trees/branches that fell down on and all around it.
Addy searching for any salvageable mangoes.  The translation office is behind the tree in the middle of the picture.
The tree that smashed Malibu's kitchen.
Wotan's house completely blew over (see next picture).
 This is in Vila, the capital city, where we go to resupply.  This mangled tin is the roof of a building, Hilltop, that is one of the accommodations our organization uses for us when we come out of the village.
 A view from the missing roof of Hilltop.  The Richards had their town stuff stored up in here.  The Vila staff did their best to wash and salvage everything, but books and papers didn't do very well.
Another view of Hilltop's roof.  Hilltop is the house in the middle top of the picture.  Our friend Loui is the caretaker of the grounds for our organization and his house is the one on the left.  His house sustained lots of water damage, as did the office building where I stay when we are in Vila.
This is in Vila where the handicraft market sits for tourists to browse through locally made items.

The death toll in Vanuatu for this cyclone was very minimal, considering, which most attribute to the fact that the majority of people here live in thatch houses, which when smashed are less deadly than a tin, timber, or cement house would be in a more developed nation.  Thirteen are confirmed dead, according to Vanuatu Daily Digest, out of a population of about 250,000.  We are grateful for how God spared our lives and those of our people, and our house as well.  We are also grateful for the prayers and encouragement of our friends around the world. 

Many people have asked how to help, and we have been directing people to an account set up by our friends Ian and Joanna Walter with Build Aid.  Ian helped build our house, and has been working the last year or so on building a school on the far side of our language group.  (He took the above picture at a school in Linbul village north of us about an hour's drive.)  Ian came out to check on us a day or two after the cyclone, chartering a plane in order to get to us.  He brought a satellite phone, which allowed us to contact our parents for the first time and let them know we were alright.  From there, they were able to pass the word along through Facebook.  They have set up a fund that will go toward rebuilding in North Ambrym that you can access at  We are ok personally for supplies and such, but many of our friends could use assistance.  If you prefer to give toward needed building repairs in Vila where we go to resupply, you can give toward that same fund, but just e-mail us and let us know you'd like the money allocated for that, and we'll communicate that to Ian and Jo.  The fund is not tax-deductible, unfortunately, so if you need tax deduction, organizations like Samaritan's Purse, the Red Cross, and Save the Children are helping Vanuatu with relief as well.  Just be aware that gifts to these organizations can't be specified to Ambrym where we are ministering, but can go to help Vanuatu relief efforts overall.

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