Sumptoh Ulrich – the Mayor of Port Vila City Council, Vanuatu – made a call for action in response to the devastation caused by Cyclone Pam.
Cyclone Pam is regarded as one of the worst natural disasters in the history of Vanuatu. 166,000 people were directly or indirectly affected by the storm, and 96% of land crops were destroyed. Around 90% of the buildings in Vanuatu were impacted.
Mayor Ulrich outlined this situation at the World Congress 2015 Opening Plenary, describing how Vanuatu is currently in the process of restoring basic service functions.
As Mayor Ulrich said:
The storm was a wake-up call – a timely reminder not only of nature’s power over us but also of our influence on nature through our development pathways. Small states will continue to bear the burden of an increasingly changing climate. With projections for more intense storms, cyclones will continue to set back years of development processes.
Mayor Ulrich concluded with a call to developed countries to continue to support Vanuatu, but also to act on climate change in order to mitigate the catastrophic consequences. He added:
Climate deals must translate into action at all levels.
He also pointed out that developing states have limited resources to draw on. He therefore asked for solid and constructive partnerships between those with resources and those without.
It is through your generous hearts that Port Vila and Vanuatu will bounce back.