Cyclone Pam Update – Rebuilding and Resilience

Two months after Category 5 Cyclone Pam devastated crops and infrastructure throughout Vanuatu’s main island of Efate, re-planting and reconstruction are underway.

The majority of market vendors in Vanuatu are women, most of whom grow the produce they sell. The cyclone destroyed up to 90% of crops on affected islands and left up to 75,000 people needing temporary shelter, meaning many women lost their homes and sole source of income in one blow.

Immediately following the cyclone, UN Women deployed people and resources to work with women market vendors and formally assess their needs.

In the weeks following the cyclone, market vendors were relocated to Marobe Market, on the outskirts of the capital. UN Women worked alongside local and provincial governments to ensure safety and negotiate rent relief for stall holders, while immediate repair work to the Port Vila Central Market was completed.

With the Central Market now reopened, UN Women is focused on ensuring women market vendors have direct access to seeds, gardening advice and supplies. This ensures that women can replant sufficient crops to both replenish their family’s needs, and build up supply to sell through their market stalls.

As part of UN Women’s Markets for Change project and “Getting Started” workshops, market vendors’ associations were actively involved in getting the markets up and running following Cyclone Pam. The associations work to ensure markets are safe, inclusive and non-discriminatory, part of which is creating effective governance mechanisms that represent the needs and perspectives of market vendors, particularly women.

Through its Markets for Change project, UN Women is working with market vendors, market councils, provincial and national governments in Vanuatu, as well as the Australian Government, to help women restore their livelihoods and build resilience to future external shocks like Cyclone Pam.