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Disasters, Conflicts and Migration


Natural Disasters



Comments / Details



Vanuatu suffers from periodic drought. The 2016 El Nino phenomenon impacted heavily on areas already affected by TC Pam.



Vanuatu is situated on the ring of fire. Approximately 260 earthquakes occur across Vanuatu each year. There were 13 quakes of a magnitude 6.0 or above in 2016.



Mosquito borne epidemics of Malaria and Dengue are common. Larger Dengue outbreaks can occur seasonally often related to the rainy season. During the El Nino phenomenon little to no cases are reported. La Nina phenomenon’s are often accompanied by Dengue epidemics.

Extreme Temperatures





Many parts of Vanuatu are subject to flash flooding during the wet season November – April.

Insect Infestation


Disease carrying and crop eating insects are present in Vanuatu.



Heavy rain and flooding has resulted in mudslides.

Volcanic Eruptions


There are 5 active volcanoes in Vanuatu. The ash fall from Mt Yasur in Tanna regularly affect crops. Guau and Ambrym (Marum)  volcanoes have had lava flows in recent years, affecting surrounding villages.

High Waves / Surges


Much of the coastal damage associated with TC Pam was related to storm surge and high waves. High waves can prevent the use of small ports across Vanuatu, which are vital for supply distribution to the islands.




High Winds


TC Lusi 2014, TC Pam 2015, TC Ula and Zena 2016,  TC Cook 2017.

Other Comments


Man-Made Issues

Civil Strife


There are occasional land disputes amongst villages but no wide spread civil unrest.

International Conflict



Internally Displaced Persons


There is natural migration of people during times of natural disasters, where local temporary residencies are created, but no managed camps.

Refugees Present



Landmines / UXO Present



Other Comments



For a more detailed database on disasters by country, please see the Centre for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters Country Profile.

Seasonal Effects on Logistics Capacities


Seasonal Effects on Transport

Transport Type

Time Frame

Comments / Details

Primary Road Transport

Nov - April

There are sealed roads in Port Vila and Luganville. Heavy rain increases the size and depth of potholes making transport dangerous and hard on vehicles tyres and axels. Whole sections of the road were washed away with flooding and storm surge during TC Pam in North Efate.

Secondary Road Transport

Nov - April

The secondary roads are dirt roads and are very quickly affected by rain falls. The rain/cyclone season can turn a passable track in an impracticable road very quickly. It is best to get local knowledge to determine what port to deliver supplies to based on road condition.

Rail Transport


No Rail transport

Air Transport

Nov - April

Concerns with cracks in the international runway at Port Vila lead to two major airlines refusing to use it in 2016 until interim repairs were undertaken. The stance was also to ensure the promised works to upgrade the Bauerfield runway to a code E were undertaken. The widening and lengthening of the runway is scheduled for 2017.


Heavy rain and cyclones can have an affect on the secondary airstrips on outer islands and can become unusable.

Waterway Transport

Nov – April


High winds and swell

Inter-island transport by small vessel to some ports cannot be undertaken during high seas and strong wind.


Main seasonal effects on transport are climatic, occurring during the wet season, November through until April, when roads are subject to flooding and damage due to heavy rain. This may result in closing access to villages and small towns.


During this period interisland sea transport may also be disrupted due to the cyclonic effects of high winds and rough seas.




Seasonal Effects on Storage and Handling

Activity Type

Time Frame

Comments / Details


Nov - Dec

Heavy rains and cyclones can affect storage quality and access to transport of pre-positioned relief supplies, as many containerised at present.



As above

Capacity and Contacts for In-Country Emergency Response


The Vanuatu Government is in the process of drafting its new Disaster Risk Management Act. This should be completed in 2017.

The National Disaster Management Office is the National Government department that leads on coordination of natural disasters and sits under the Ministry of Climate Change and Adaptation. The new Act will define who leads on different emergencies, including maritime, fire and civil matters.

The Vanuatu Government is progressing de-centralisation. After TC Pam the NDMO set up Provincial Disaster and Climate Change Offices to enable the Provinces to lead on local disasters. Capacity building and infrastructure development is underway to implement this capability.

For more information on government contact details, please see the following link: 4.1 Vanuatu Government Contact List


Humanitarian Community 

TC Pam resulted in a number of Humanitarian Partners arriving in country. Many have stayed on to assist with the recovery process. The list includes:

  • The National Vanuatu Red Cross Society.
  • Australian Red Cross
  • French Red Cross
  • International Federation of Red Cross
  • Care
  • Oxfam
  • Save the Children
  • ADRA
  • Caritas
  • World Vision
  • Action Aid
  • UN Woman

The Vanuatu Humanitarian Team was been established to assist to coordinate the humanitarian partners in country.

For more information on humanitarian agency contact details, please see the following link: 4.2 Vanuatu Humanitarian Agency Contact List