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Greg Watt
Worked at www.traveller-info.com
Attended University of Auckland
Lives in Auckland, New Zealand
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Avid traveller, & advocate of real travel experiences at www.traveller-info.com/TravellerBlog
Introduction
Throughout my life I have loved to travel, and after gaining my qualifications, Anne and I took the opportunity to work overseas for a number of years, travelling when we could through Australia, Papua New Guinea, and parts of Asia.   

In recent times we have travelled extensively throughout Europe, Asia and have developed strong relationships in Vanuatu, where we live part of each year.  

As for the future, we hope to spend a significant amount of time travelling amongst different societies and cultures around the world, and providing others with the opportunity to do the same, by providing travel advice based on our own experiences

Bragging rights
I have very little to brag about. The more I travel, the more I appreciate my fellow human beings, their cultures, their struggles and aspirations. If I have anything to be proud of, it is to help where I can, villages and communities fulfill their goals.
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Help fellow travellers have great travel experiences, that are unique, 'real' and unforgettable
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Auckland, New Zealand
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Greg Watt

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The immediate needs of communities remain, and cannot be under estimated. However, what happens in the near future, after the world has forgotten that Cyclone Pam ever existed? The needs are actually greater but the incentives for the world to help…
The immediate needs of communities remain, and cannot be under estimated. However, what happens in the near future, after the world has forgotten that Cyclone Pam ever existed? The needs are actually greater but the incentives for the world to help diminishes. The modified parable of “give a man a fish and he can feed his family for a day, give him a fishing rod and he can feed his family for a lifetime”, has never been truer. We believe that ser...
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Greg Watt

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  Sometimes we are disconnected to the reality of the effects of a natural disaster. With the advent of CNN and ever increasing media technology, we often get a multitude of natural events streamed into our homes on a regular basis. After a while we…
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The frustration of being in the middle of it and receiving nothing. It is perplexing, and says a lot about the patience of Ni-Vanuatuan people, to be just as much in need as the next area, but to be reduced to sitting and watching all the relief pass…
Four weeks after Cyclone Pam, central Tanna receives desperately needed aid supplies. After living on scraps of food from scratchings in their gardens, and living under the stars, with little or no shelter, there is finally some relief.
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. FOWARD TO AID EVALUATION IN CENTRAL AREA OF TANNA (9th April 2015) Communication is a wonderful thing, and being here now on the ground a lot is made clearer. From being on outsider only a day ago, and despite being in daily communication with a…
Four weeks after Cyclone Pam ripped through Tanna Island in Vanuatu, parts of Central Tanna (Middlebush) have yet to receive any Aid in the form of Food Rations, or Temporary Shelter.
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  CYCLONE PAM – NOT JUST ANOTHER CYCLONE. The winds came from the east, and while there had been warnings no-one expected the ferocity and scale of what was about to happen. After all, there had been cyclones before, and everyone had survived ….. right.…
  CYCLONE PAM - NOT JUST ANOTHER CYCLONE. The winds came from the east, and while there had been warnings no-one expected the ferocity and scale of what was about to happen. After all, there had been cyclones before, and everyone had survived ….. right. But this was different, rapidly developing into a the upper range of a Cat 5 Cyclone ( Both Fiji and US means of measurement), this was a weather event that has been unprecedented for decades. Th...
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Greg Watt

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TANNA ISLAND - MIDDLEBUSH DEVASTATED.
We have been able to contact Esso today and have been able to find out what has happened. Cyclone Pam has devastated the whole of the Middlebush Region Completely. Further, No relief or Aid has yet arrived to this area. There is no shelter, the last of the food is fast disappearing and many only have the clothes on their backs.

In regard to Rachel and Esso, their property has withstood the  Cyclone far better than we feared, but their tribal village has been completely destroyed. There is nothing left, except for the people.

For a complete update on What has happened to Middlebush, and Rachel and Esso, please go to our Blog as it is quite long - I have put it on the homepage.

https://www.vanuatutraveller.com

Now that we know what has happened, we will be posting shortly about what we can do to alleviate the suffering that is happening in Middlebush.
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I DARE SURMISE, AND FILL IN THE DOTS !
Up until now I have been very particular not to surmise too much, not make sweeping assumptions and to try and assemble all the information that is at hand to provide a picture of what has happened in the area that I know. The fact of the matter is that logistics are obviously incredibly difficult, and for most areas in Vanuatu, substantial help isn't coming anytime soon. For that reason,  based on my discussions with Esso in the Days before, I'm joining the dots here to try and work out  their communities most likely situation. I think is worth reading as it is likely to be a common story in  all the remote areas :


=>  Cyclone Pam scored pretty much a direct hit on Tanna. Winds are clockwise and therefore came from the east. Esso and Rachel are on the east coast in by a few km's but up on an escarpment, with sweeping views, but in an extremely exposed situation for winds. Their position places them in a situation where winds are likely to be twice that experienced elsewhere - the wind force and consequent loading would have been beyond belief. If the image in my last post was in fact  friendly bungalows, then it is quite logical to believe that there is almost nothing left of Esso and Rachel's accommodation. 


=> In the days before I was in contact with Esso (perhaps  twice a day), I impressed upon him the severity of what was to come. He certainly knew that it was a Cat 5, and likely a direct hit. He also knew very well what that meant. He spent Two days boarding everything up the best he could.


=> The Cyclone moved slower than we thought and therefore we were about 12 hours ahead of it. I believe they moved all the children and woman to a nearby school. I assume that the whole village went.  Rachel's brother Jimmy has a  Rural Training Centre nearby - and he has ensured that it has been well constructed ( concrete block), and I am confident that if they went there that they are safe and well. I hope that Esso did not remain too much longer afterwards.


=> I had indicated to Esso that he get his Vehicle to a safe place so as to avoid damage. Whether any vehicle could be placed safe from flying debri  and able to avoid some damage is unlikely. 


=> The community have large Taro and food gardens nearby, but anything above ground will be stripped bare and gone. Taro does keep in the ground  in the right conditions, with some actually preferring swampy conditions. While very starchy, there is also some important parts of their diet there. They have lived on this food for a long time. I am really unsure of the reports of food  levels, but it certainly can't last more than a week or so for all the population that needs it.


=> We installed for them as a part of a Unicef initiative, ram pumps ( do not need power) and a water reticulation system that distributes to a good number of  villages in the area. The general area, was put in by Unicef and we paid for one ram pump for Esso's accommodation and his local village. The streams that are the source are spring fed and therefore should not be contaminated. Esso put his big water tank back on a hill and this will be fine, especially as we know that the pump produces more water than can be used. The weight of the tank would have held it down. the only thing will be flying debri.


So where does this leave us. I believe that they have survived, that their buildings everywhere are gone, but they are out there at the moment salvaging what they can to try and provide what shelter they can. They will be surviving and will be able to survive for several weeks before aid comes. If his vehicle is in working order he will out and about to help transport people in need to the hospital or wherever - as long as he has fuel. More than that I cannot pretend to guess.

It will be a common story throughout Vanuatu, but one that ultimately will rely on us to help in ways that each of us feel be are able. The photo's below are of from my last trip there which was in Feb 2015, the top obviously Rachel and Esso and the bottom Chief Jack with his wife Amy. #tanna   #vanuatu  #cyclonepam
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Greg Watt

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CYCLONE PAM - A personal account at village level.
I think there is a threshold that occurs, when things start to break around you, strong things such as trees that have been around for a hundred years or more. When homes disintegrate, and flying debri fills the air, there is a realisation that no one is safe, and whether you survive or not is purely a matter of luck.
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Greg Watt

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The frustration of being in the middle of it and receiving nothing. It is perplexing, and says a lot about the patience of Ni-Vanuatuan people, to be just as much in need as the next area, but to be reduced to sitting and watching all the relief pass…
Four weeks after Cyclone Pam, central Tanna receives desperately needed aid supplies. After living on scraps of food from scratchings in their gardens, and living under the stars, with little or no shelter, there is finally some relief.
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Greg Watt

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Is Food Aid getting through to Anywhere on Tanna Island ? I’m not going to get into this – not on this post (However, there is plenty to say). This post is about what you can do to alleviate hunger and suffering if you are travelling to Tanna Island.  The…
If you are travelling to Tanna island, Vanuatu in the near future, thing about taking a Food Package - It will be greatly appreciated. Better still, just take enough clothes and personal effects to fill your hand luggage and take a full food package as your main luggage. If you want to find out more read our wordpress article .
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Greg Watt

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UPDATE ON RELIEF AID TO TANNA ISLAND.
Since the last post I have been trying to get in contact with anyone and everyone to see what is happening. I understand that Relief supplies (tents, canned food etc) have been arriving by Boat, and by large plane and helicopter (it appears over some days). There has been an initial relief disbursement ( I am unclear where), but is now being geared up. From what I hear ( not Esso), distribution points are presently being established along with some military outposts, and a careful release of relief supplies should commence any time from now ( 12.00 noon 25th March). There should be some official information released on this shortly. #Tanna   #Vanuaturelief
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Greg Watt

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AT LAST - SOME NEWS REGARDING ESSO (ISSO) 
Finally, some news in regard to Esso. Esso is an active member of Taefa Tourism. We have had word from one of the major Resorts that  Esso, Rachel and their family are safe and uninjured. We are unclear if all of the extended family are all uninjured, but understand that to be the case. We do not know specifics regarding their buildings and land as yet.

What we do know is that Tanna is one of the main links in regard to cell towers amongst the islands, and they are working on them to get them operational again. Once that happens we will be able to provide a greater amount of information, and move forward in regard to the medium  term programs we intend to set up. 

The photo below is happier days ( a while ago) with Esso, Rachel and Anne on the whitegrass coast. #tanna  #tannaadventures
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Aid starts to flow in to devastated Vanuatu
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