Tropical Cyclone Pam – French assistance in Tafea province [fr]
The French Armed Forces in New Caledonia (FANC) and the French Armed Forces of French Polynesia (FAPF) have been involved since 15 March in rescue operations to populations and in rehabilitation of infrastructures affected by tropical cyclone Pam. They act in cooperation with the French Embassy in Vanuatu, the government of Vanuatu, NGOs and associations on the ground and emergency response teams from New Caledonia and French Polynesia.
France is directing the main part of its assistance to Tafea province, specifically in North Tanna and Erromango. Military teams brought equipment for road clearing and freight transport. They also helped carry experts (such as technicians, doctors…) who bring relief to the people affected by tropical cyclone Pam, using 4 WD vehicles and two helicopters (Puma and Alouette III). These means are occasionally reinforced by the frigate Vendémiaire and the patrol boat La Glorieuse who are cruising off Tanna and Erromango.
The military and civilian teams on the ground in Tanna opened access roads to drinking water sources. They also worked to consolidate and rehabilitate damaged buildings, for instance Lowanatom college, and to secure Lenakel airport. Eight Ni-Vanuatu wounded, included several children, were evacuated from Tanna to Port Vila.
Since 15 March, the Casa planes from FANC and FAPF also carried into Vanuatu around 120 people, including more than 80 civilians, and 41 t of cargo. The frigate Vendemaire and the patrol boat La Glorieuse delivered 8 t of cargo on Tanna for the Red Cross and Solidarité Tanna NGO. Humanitarian supplies were also delivered on Futuna Island.
Since the rescue operations began, nearly 300 French soldiers have been participating in relief operations to populations and in rehabilitation of infrastructure affected by cyclone Pam, in close cooperation with the High Commission of the French Republic in New Caledonia.