Superyacht Dragonfly arrives in Vanuatu to begin relief efforts following Cyclone Pam
After steaming for 1,600 miles in under four days, the 73-metre Dragonfly arrived in Vanuatu on Saturday morning, a week on from the devastation of Cyclone Pam. The initial task for the yacht and her crew from the Vanuatu government will be be to supply aid and provide a medical response to the Shepherd Islands to the north-east. This area has seen over 80% of the villages destroyed and has limited access to fresh water, food and shelter.
“Dragonfly has extensively cruised the beautiful and remote areas of Vanuatu over the past two years, and we were shocked and saddened to see the devastation caused by Cyclone Pam. We know that the resources we have on board can make a huge difference and will ultimately save lives,” says Dragonfly’s captain Mike Gregory. “Our goals are to deliver the most efficient and effective response to those in need, provide medical care for the injured and deliver 80,000 litres of water within the first seven days. We have been well supported by the teams ashore, and would like to thank YachtAid Global in their efforts to co-ordinate the delivery of aid for us to carry to the most remote locations.” The yacht is under management with Y.CO.
Dragonfly will be joined in Vanuatu by the superyacht support vessel Umbra.
On the ground in Vanuatu, the job of rebuilding local communities is ongoing. “There is massive co-operation going on here with local government, the New Zealand navy, the French navy, Aus Aid, NZ Aid, some private donors, and other groups like the Red Cross,” says Claire Barkhuizen of Vanuatu Yacht Services, based in the capital Port Vila.
“World Bank representatives are also coming this week to see where they can contribute funds. At the same time, there is a clean-up operation going on, and the private sector are trying to get all businesses back to more or less normal operations,” she adds. “Beyond the first response that is taking place now, what we need is a sustained campaign to get yachts to visit Vanuatu. It would be good to see all yachts in this part of the Pacific make a stopover in Vanuatu and visit some of the islands to inject much-needed funds directly into the affected outer island communities.”