We could show dozens more pictures of the destruction that happened on the island of Efate, but you can see much of the same on youtube or news links. We thought it might be more interesting to see some before and after pictures to put what happened here in a better perspective. We will show this one however, that showed up on LDS Newsroom as part of an article about relief efforts in Port Vila.
I hate it when someone actually catches me doing something useful. I do have a reputation to uphold.
If you remember the blog about our trip around the island...
ANOTHER AFTER - SAME ROAD
BEFORE This is the small bush Chapel in Poanangisu that we love so much
Notice the wooden planks set up on cinder blocks that were being used for benches
Three days before the cyclone, John Bennion (Facilities Manager) and his crew had built and installed new benches for the Chapel. They still look good
We used to love to look from our back patio across the lagoon at VaLynne's wildcat
Not so much now
This was our view from our front door looking across the street
Another front door view, different angle
AFTER: We knew there were houses up there, but we had never seen them
This is the Mele Chapel before Pam
These two are after Pam. Other than a little damage to the rain gutters, the Chapel itself was not damaged other than a lot of flooding as you can see
It has now been two weeks since the storm. We have been very busy transporting food, water, and materials, mostly to Etas and Poanangisu. There has been a lot of activity at the Chapel in Port Vila as it is the largest and most central. Tons of food and supplies have moved through this building in and our education office has been put on hold because of lack of internet and also it has been being used for housing for the first few days and then for storage. We are now starting to be able to catch up, but are still spending most of our time in support of those who were hurt the worst.
We are amazed at the amount of work and restoration that has been accomplished in such a short time. Most of the roads are passable and most of the businesses are re-opened here in Port Vila. Supplies are still limited and we have noticed price increases on some items, which is sad.
Everyone is working at rebuilding their lives. Although many, especially those away from the city have not only lost their homes, they have lost their means to earn a living. Some of their crops won't regrow for up to two years. Whenever we ask them how they will be able to provide for themselves, they just smile and say "we'll, be o k. We'll get by like we always have." While talking to one of our friends, we asked about their house. She said the house was o k. Come to find out, the roof was gone and everything was scattered all over and soaking wet. Stuff just doesn't seem to matter a whole lot to these people. As long as the family is alright, everything is "gud".
There have been a lot of fires burning around the city lately. There is so much debris all over the place and the only way to get rid of it is to burn it. A lot of times we will have to detour because a dump truck will be in the process of being filled with all the blown down vegetation. They then take it to a central location and burn it. One of the burn locations is near our house and it's fun to watch the progress of the clean up as we drive past
This is our burn pile
Sometimes you just have to make a new road
The road to our Branch President's house became impassable, so we just found another way to get there. We took a few tons of food and supplies to his house and from there it was sorted and distributed to members of the Church and community.
There is always a lot more to tell about than there is time to tell it, but we will try to keep up with what is going on here.