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Bank, UNICEF and Oxfam unite to rebuild communities hit by cyclone

24 March 2015 |Media centre

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank has joined forces with UNICEF Australia and Oxfam Australia to launch the Vanuatu and South Pacific Cyclone Recovery Appeal via the bank's philanthropic arm Community Enterprise FoundationTM

The appeal aims to raise funds for the recuperation of cyclone-affected communities in the South Pacific, including Vanuatu, and has a particular focus increasing sanitation, rebuilding community infrastructure and improving the wellbeing of children and families.

Oxfam Australia, Chief Executive, Dr Helen Szoke said the situation in Vanuatu was increasingly grim; with destructive winds causing widespread damage to crops and fishing infrastructure across affected islands making food security a major concern.

Friday night was the first emergency with the arrival of Cyclone Pam, disease will be the second emergency without clean water, sanitation and hygiene provision.  Oxfam is working hard to address these immediate and ongoing needs, with funds raised through this appeal we can increase these efforts," Dr Szoke said

"Our long-term aim is to reduce the impact of future disasters by helping vulnerable communities to prepare infrastructure and equipment to cope with an impending crisis."

UNICEF Australia’s spokesperson in Vanuatu, Alice Clements, said all schools in Vanuatu’s capital Port Vila had been damaged or destroyed, leaving many children vulnerable and without support from trusted adults while their families deal with the heartbreaking task of rebuilding their homes.

"In addition to looking after immediate health needs through improved hygiene and vaccination, UNICEF will use funds raised to establish child-friendly spaces to ensure children have safe havens to resume basic learning, seek counselling and avoid child exploitation," Ms Clements said.

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, Managing Director, Mike Hirst, said the bank was keen to do all it could to help Vanuatu and nearby island nations in the wake of Cyclone Pam.

"Our partners UNICEF and Oxfam are telling us that food, water and sanitation supplies are at a critical low, perhaps only days from being altogether depleted," Mr Hirst said.

"It's going to take a time for communities restore the place they call home, and we're committed to providing financial support through our partners to help their immediate and long-term needs.

"We're urging everyday Australians to join us in supporting the people of Vanuatu and the South pacific by making a donation. Even the smallest donation can make a difference in the lives of affected families and their communities."

Donations to the Vanuatu and South Pacific Cyclone Recovery Appeal can be made at any Bendigo Bank branch or online.
Donations of $2 or more are tax deductible.

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