Scillonian Helping To Save Lives In Vanuatu Following Cyclone Pam

vanuatu appeal jarA Scillonian is helping save lives in Vanuatu, the nation devastated by the most powerful cylone to make landfall in the Pacific.

31-year-old Peter Watts is co-piloting one of the helicopters, which the government of the islands have contracted to deliver urgent aid from New Zealand following Cyclone Pam.

Peter recently gained his flying qualifications in Christchurch, where he relocated three years ago. For the next two weeks, he’ll be in charge of monitoring fuel in the specially adapted tanks during the 14-hour flights.

Peter’s mum Liz says his family back at Parting Carn are very proud of him.

As the extent of damage becomes clear, Scilly Rotarians met on Monday and agreed to send a donation of £590 to the disaster aid charity, Shelterbox.

Tim Guthrie says that will pay for one of the emergency kits, which come packed with lifesaving tools including a tent and vital water purification devices.

And that aid is needed quickly. Tim says there are reports that people in the disaster zone are drinking seawater.

Tim’s hoping that islanders who dealt with what is a minor event in comparison, the 2014 winter storm, will be compassionate. He said that showed us just how vulnerable we are living on an island.

Ben Julian from St Martin’s is a Shelterbox responder.

He’s recently returned from areas of flooding in Malaysia but he has first hand experience of the aftermath of a typhoon from his deployment in the Philippines in 2013.

Ben says the vital shelter that the kits provide can keep families together and allow them to live on site while they rebuild their damaged homes.

The collection jars will be available in a number of Hugh Town shops including the Post Office and Islands’ Home Hardware.

But Tim wants to get the donation points distributed all across our islands. He says if anyone on the off-islands would like one, they should contact him on 423 523.