Cyclone Pam is the most powerful cyclone to ever hit the Southern Pacific. On 13th March 2015, it strengthened to a Category 5 storm over the Y-shaped chain of islands, which make up Vanuatu. Vanuatu took multiple direct hits over the islands of Efate (where the capital Port Vila is situated), Erromango and Tanna Island. 270km/h winds were sustained near Efate and the Shepherd Islands. The storm also brought with it heavy rains and storm surges. Shefa, Malampa, and Tafea were the most heavily affected provinces although Pam affected an estimated 207,000 people on 26 islands, destroyed critical infrastructure, displaced thousands and severely affected food security and productive sectors including agriculture, livestock, fisheries, forestry, and biosecurity.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, Forestry and Biosecurity (MALFFB) is supported by the Vanuatu Food Security and Agriculture Cluster (FSAC) as a coordinating forum for Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction (CCDRR) for the primary production sector and food and nutrition security. This cluster provides an action-oriented forum for bringing together national and international partners to improve the timeliness and effective assistance and advocacy to minimize the impact of climate change and hazards for vulnerable communities and sectors in Vanuatu. In particular, it will help ensure coherent, coordinated and integrated initiatives that are driven by an evidence-based assessment of food security and the needs of affected populations.
The FSAC coordinating structure is developed with the endorsement of the Ministry of Agriculture and the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) and in collaboration with the Regional Food Security Cluster, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP). The Risk and Resilience Unit will act as the Secretariat of the FSAC.
OBJECTIVES OF THE FSAC
The FSAC will work towards the following objectives:
1. Facilitate effective coordination and sharing of information amongst agencies and organizations, including local organizations and local government partners involved in food and nutrition security efforts, disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and mitigation programs and recovery initiatives;
2. In collaboration with the NDMO, ensure coordination of effective emergency food and nutrition security and agriculture response;
3. Oversee and coordinate the provision of timely evidence-based reporting to MALFFB and NDMO of activities in food and nutrition security, and agriculture emergency response of sector partners/members;
4. Promote the integration of CCDRR across the agricultural sector;
5. Increase resilience in the agriculture sector;
6. Contribute to national/provincial FSAC contingency and preparedness planning, supporting cluster members to provide a timely response during emergencies;
7. Address disruption in the provision of existing MALFFB services during emergencies and liaise accordingly with sector partners and regional support agencies such as FAO, WFP, OCHA, and SPC;
8. Liaise and coordinate with the NDMO and other clusters- especially with joint initiatives such as DRR and response as required.