Vanuatu – Statement by Mr. Laurent Fabius (Paris, March 16, 2015) [fr]
The extremely violent Cyclone Pam has devastated Vanuatu in the South Pacific. The number of casualties has not yet been established but there is already extensive material damage. Several thousand people have been left homeless. In these tragic circumstances, my thoughts go to the country’s victims, people and authorities.
France heeded the appeal issued by the president of Vanuatu. On Sunday, we sent experts to help assess the people’s needs. The French armed forces, in collaboration with the Red Cross and our Australian and New Zealand partners, are arranging for emergency humanitarian assistance to be delivered by air or sea to the devastated islands. A maritime patrol aircraft has been assigned to carry out aerial reconnaissance missions, which are essential due to the archipelago’s configuration. The ministry’s Crisis and Support Center is mobilized in Paris. On the ground, despite the fact that communications are difficult, our embassy is in contact with our compatriots and six of them have been evacuated to Noumea. I am personally following all of these operations.
This disaster struck just as the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction was taking place in Sendai. 70% of so-called natural disasters are known to be linked to climate disruption. Cyclone Pam is a further warning that the international community should assume its responsibilities.
The primary objective of climate action is to protect the most vulnerable populations. More than ever, we’re facing an emergency. Everything possible must be done to ensure that the Paris Climate Conference will result in an ambitious agreement.