By Brisbane, Australia Relief Team (Originally in English)
On March 13, 2015, Cyclone Pam devastated the South Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu with winds as high as 270 kilometers (168 miles) an hour, taking 17 lives and leaving approximately 65,000 people homeless. The capital city, Port Vila, and many villages were severely damaged and in some cases completely destroyed. Electric, communication and water utilities were not working in almost all buildings and many roads were blocked. In addition, residents’ supplies of food and drinking water were running low.
Having received Supreme Master Ching Hai’s loving reminder to help those in need and Her generous relief fund of AUD 12,700, our Association members from the Brisbane Center contributed an additional AUD 3,000. Then, on March 23, our relief team flew to Vanuatu, where we stayed for five days, bringing aid to the people in eight villages.
At the beginning, we had no idea how to proceed with the mission, but God guided us every step of the way! On the airplane, another passenger named Frank, a Vanuatu resident, offered to help us after learning of our challenges. Upon our arrival on the island, we were happy to learn that the hotel we had made a reservation with was operating and had one room available. Through Frank, we made contact with the Pro Medical aid agency on March 25 and used their vehicles to deliver water to several villages. We also provided Pro Medical with some medical supplies.
Early the next morning, Frank picked us up at the hotel with his rented van and told us that two local women had informed him their villages were in desperate need of food. So we found a grocery store, filled the van with approximately 400 kilograms of rice, and asked the women to lead us to the villages. The villagers were delighted to see us and said that we were the first aid group to give them much-needed food. We also made trips to three other villages and delivered approximately 1.2 tons of rice and some sweets for the children.
On March 27, Frank arranged for us to use his van and found a local man to be our driver. The man knew the area well and took us to the far reaches of the island, where we delivered another ton of rice. We also gave candy and soccer balls to the children. It was deeply rewarding to see the joy on their little faces, as they previously had no toys.
On March 28, the last day of our trip, we purchased 500 kilograms of rice and more soccer balls, and traveled to a distant village. Upon our arrival, all the villagers cheered! The village chief asked us where we were from and we showed him Master’s picture. He could not believe that someone could be so generous. While showing the picture to the villagers, he explained that the gifts were from Master, and everyone was sincerely grateful. On the way back to the airport, we stopped by Pro Medical and gave them what remained of the relief fund.
All of our relief team members are especially grateful to Master for Her protection, blessing and invisible arrangements during the mission. We also thank the beautiful people of Vanuatu. May God bless all of you and your lovely villages forever!
Expenditures by Supreme Master Ching Hai and Her International Association for Cyclone Pam Relief Work in Vanuatu
|Description||Amount (AUD)||Amount (VUV)||Receipt|
|Food (rice, noodles and snacks)||89.25||463,841.00||A|
|Medical supplies (first aid kits and water purification tablets) to Pro Medical||1803.25||B|
|Travel expenses for the relief team and transportation fee for relief items||400.00||43,159.00||C|
|Cash contribution to Pro Medical||4,600.00||210,000.00||D|
|Subtotal||AUD 6,892.50||VUV 717,000.00