UN Defends Vanuatu Response To Cyclone Pam

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Disaster Assessment Coordinator: Criticism of government ‘unfounded’

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 7, 2015) – The leader of the United Nations Disaster Assessment Coordination team in Vanuatu says criticism of the government's aid response to Cyclone Pam is unfounded.

Vanuatu's government has been criticised for not distributing foreign aid as soon as it arrived after the category five cyclone tore through the country three weeks ago.

But Sebastian Rhodes Stampa says authorities were dealing with a disaster on an unprecedented scale and handled it magnificently.

"I think the NDMO and ourselves would always like aid to flow faster than it actually does. But when you're dealing with issues of access, when you're dealing with the distances and the sheer volume of relief items we were trying to move, we can never move fast enough. I don't think criticism directed at the NDMO, or indeed any part of the relief operation, is justified."

Sebastian Rhodes Stampa says authorities are now moving into a second phase of assessment for Vanuatu's long-term recovery.

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