Cyclone Harold and Covid-19: Disaster and Inequality in the Pacific

The arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic to our Pacific shores once again brought to light the weakness of public health systems in our region. The reality is that our health systems are not ready for this crisis.

Destruction from Cyclone Harold in Vanuatu, April 2019. Credit: Dr. CristopherBartlett/VCAN/Oxfam
Luganville, Vanuatu: Scenes of destruction from Cyclone Harold which tore through the island nations of Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga and the Solomon Islands in April 2020. A category 5 storm it carried with it wind gust of over 275km/h and up to 18" of rain in parts. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic Oxfam has been responding through local office and partners. Credit: Dr. Cristopher Bartlett/VCAN/Oxfam
Communities in Luganville, Vanuatu affected by Cyclone Harold, May 2020. Credit: Glen Craig/VCAN/Oxfam
Communities in Luganville, Vanuatu affected by Cyclone Harold, May 2020. Credit: Glen Craig/VCAN/Oxfam

Recommendations for building resilience:

1. Invest in stronger health systems

2. Tackle inequality so that everyone has access to vital services

3. A drastic change of behavior to help the planet

4. Ensure stronger social accountability

Oxfam is a world-wide development organization that mobilizes the power of people against poverty.

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