On 13 March 2015, Category 5 cyclone PAM 15 ravaged through the Pacific causing widespread destruction in Vanuatu .
RescueNet responded immediately with a multinational team of seven, led by Mark Cockburn who is the Australian Coordinator. They were later joined by three doctors and a dentist from Fiji and New Zealand, and two logistical members of the new “HELP” organisation.
It took vital days to become registered with the Vanuatu government but we soon found ourselves arriving in Lenakel on the West side of Tanna Island. We met up with Robert Moise who is the Acting Director of the Lenakel Hospital, and after explaining our combined skill set, Robert asked if we could relocate two and a half hours away to the South Eastern village of Mana Upen. We set up a medical/dental clinic in the local public school whilst several of our team helped locals to rebuild their villages by way of clearing and fixing roofs, tearing apart what building material was available to enable them to rebuild, clearing roads and tracks, etc.
The medical/dental clinic in Mana Upen and surrounding small villages, treated 342 people on site and referred a further 16 people back the Lenakel Hospital – a total of 358 people.
After spending approximately a week on Tanna Island, we were invited to spend some time in a village called Pango, which is located outside the town of Port Vila. Here we treated a further 150 people on site and referred a further 13 people to the Port Vila Hospital – a total of 163 people.
As most of the team members started to return home at this point, a small team was invited to go to Pele Island where they treated a further 16 people on site.
So all totalled, we treated 508 people on site and made 29 referrals – a grand total of 537 people treated.
We had an excellent team who worked extremely well together, and Robert Moise was to later comment he appreciated how much that RescueNet had professionally served the people of Vanuatu.