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TC Harold: Sawmill for Vanuatu Rebuild

$8,100 donated

Given by 56 generous donors in 6 weeks


Cyclone Harold left a trail of destruction across Vanuatu. While the world is focused on covid19, we are here to help them recover & rebuild

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Severe Tropical Cyclone Harold was an active and powerful Category 5 cyclone that hit the northern islands of Vanuatu over 05 – 07 April 2020. TC Harold is the strongest cyclone to affect Vanuatu since TC Pam in 2015. Damaging hurricane force winds with heavy rainfalls and flash flooding caused extensive damage to the Sanma, Torba, Penama, and Malampa provinces. Early reconnaissance images paint a drastic and devastating picture! Reports are yet to come in about damage, injury, food, water and shelter.

Bringing Hope of Rebuild

But there is hope! Communities in Vanuatu were similarly devastated by Cyclone Pam in March 2015 and Fruit of the Pacific deployed a Lucas sawmill to support the rebuild and recovery work ahead. This sawmill was utilized by communities to mill timber fallen by the cyclone. New kindy’s, school rooms, staff quarters, playgrounds, market houses, bunks, desks, aid posts, churches and pastors homes were built all over Tanna thanks to the efforts of Joe Iautu, the Operations Manager and his sawmill team.

For the last 5 years a committee of Ni Vans have been utilising the mill to service communities around the island of Tanna, offering a highly cost effective and accessible service to support their rebuild and community development needs.

Joe Iautu and his operations team are on stand by to be deployed to the northern islands of Vanuatu to aid the rebuild efforts. We will be working closely with the Vanuatu National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) to ensure the team are deployed and aid delivered where most needed. We are seeking funding to enable the sawmill to operate in these communities and bring them the hope of rebuild.

About us

Fruit of the Pacific educates and mentors short term Pacific migrants

Use of funds

It will cost approx. $1,500 per week for sawmill operations to be delivered in communities. This includes wages for an operations team of 4 to 5 men, fuel, running costs, travel costs, accom and food. We hope to raise $15k to cover 10 weeks.

Latest update

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Three Classrooms: Worth a Celebration  14 May 2020

Posted by: Fruit of the Pacific

On Saturday evening, after a week of dedicated milling, our Mill for Malo team were honored by the Najaraiwelu school community for their help. A special celebration was held, chiefly speeches delivered and traditional food enjoyed. The team were recognised for their service, their rapid and practical response to the TC Harold disaster and the impact of this project for the communities children.

Chief Alfred Mata noted that without the team, the fallen trees would be left to rot, instead of being used to help rebuild. He has a heart for his grandchildren and he gifted the wood from his land to the school, knowing one day in the future his grandchildren would benefit from this.

For their first weeks work, Joe and the Mill for Malo team milled over 2,000 lineal metres of timber - enough to rebuild and repair three classrooms! To put this into context, when I was on Tanna in 2016, over a year after TC Pam, there were many classrooms still in ruins, children being taught in emergency tent shelters. It is incredibly significant and empowering for this community, less than two months after the cyclone, to have the resources for their school to rebuild and for their children to return to learning in the not too distant future.

Work beings at Avunatari School

This weeks we are working with Avunatari Primary School. This school has sustained significant damage to its classrooms, as well as auxiliary rooms including the school kitchen, dining hall, library and staff house. The desks and chairs are ruined, and while, only a few years ago the school received a whole new library, today the few books that are barely salvageable are left to dry in the sun. Where there were once children running and playing happily on the fields overlooking the ocean, today the empty buildings stand forlorn.

But not for long! On Tuesday, 16 logs were prepared for another big week of milling. This time they're getting efficient, prepping all the logs first and bringing them to the school grounds, so they can spend the rest of the week creating timber to the builders specs. Yesterday, they whizzed through 7 logs creating over 400 lineal metres in one day.

With your help, one day soon, those children will again run to their classrooms and continue their education, because you responded with generosity! Once again, thank you for being part of the Mill for Malo team!

To receive our mailchimp newsletter updates which have a lot more pictures of the communities, work and the teams progress please do use this link to read & subscribe...

Read 3 more updates

Latest donations

  • Rachael

    Rachael 5 days ago


    We are missing our team of RSE's this year due to COVID-19 and hope that some of this love is reaching them and their communities.


  • Erica

    Erica 6 days ago


    Vanuatu has always been a place close to our hearts. Wonderful initiative and pleased we can help a little bit towards the re build. Bless you all.


  • Debbie

    Debbie on 15 May 2020




  • Hollie

    Hollie on 12 May 2020



  • Yvonne and Doug Harrison

    Yvonne and Doug Harrison on 10 May 2020


    Donated by Yvonne and Doug Harrison


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This page was created on 9 Apr 2020 and closes on 8 Oct 2020.
$8,100 donated

Given by 56 generous donors in 6 weeks

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