Vanuatu Insurance Payout Belies Significant Loss, Increasing Risk

Vanuatu Insurance Payout Belies Significant Loss, Increasing Risk

A $1.9 million insurance payout from the World Bank to the government of Vanuatu following a devastating cyclone two weeks ago will only scratch the surface of the island nation’s needs as it faces a “secondary emergency” of crop failure and significant economic losses.

The March 13 category 5 Cyclone Pam has wiped out 90 percent of Vanuatu crops, which could lead to a long-term food insecurity issue, said Osnat Lubrani, United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in a statement following a tour of the nation Saturday.The World Bank added that it would need at least $29.9 million in aid assistance and rebuilding in the next three months alone to meet resident needs.

The UN says that it has received $6.4 million in pledges assistant to date.

Data from the Vanuatu’s Ministry of Agriculture said that the primary staple of the 200,000 resident diets — root crops — were damaged in the storm along with “total destruction” of leafy vegetables and “significant damage to fishing boats and implements”

“While we can already see the positive impact of the Government-led emergency relief operation, we still need to scale up efforts to ensure all islands are provided with food, water, shelter and medical care,” Lubrani said in a statement. “The emergency is not over yet.”

The World Bank announced Monday that the Vanuatu government received a $1.9 million payout from the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Insurance Pilot, the second payout in the program’s history. A grant from the Government of Japan helped cover the Government of Vanuatu’s insurance premium, according to the bank.

This will unlikely be a continuing issue for Vanuatu since the Pacific island nation sits at the heart of what researchers believe is a cyclone prone region.

The centre of 94 tropical cyclones passed within approximately 400 km of Vanuatu’s capital, Port Vila, making it the most impacted capital city in region, according to Australia’s Pacific Climate Change Science Program. It added that while the number of storms hitting the court may not be increasing “simulations show an increase in the proportion of the most severe cyclones. “

The tropical cyclone season in the Vanuatu region is between November and April.

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