SPC Geoscience Division


Vanuatu builds capacity to coordinate emergency shelter

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23 September 2015

Port Vila, Vanuatu – Improving the quality and coordination of emergency shelter was the focus of a five day training course held in Vanuatu earlier this month (7-11 September) for government and civil society members of the Vanuatu Shelter Cluster and Evacuation Centre Working Group along with representatives from counterparts in Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tonga .

The training was provided by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community in partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) and Red Crescent Societies with support from the European Union through the SPC implemented Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific project and Australian Red Cross’ Pacific Disaster Management Partnership.

Participants draft a response plan with support from IFRC Shelter cluster personnel
Team leaders from Vanuatu Red Cross lead the emergency shelter exercise

The training which reviewed and proposed improved ways of working with emergency shelters drew on the experiences gained following Tropical Cyclone Pam in March 2015 during which over 3,000 people  sought safety in evacuation centres and 18,000 homes were destroyed. Participants spent three days focusing on the coordination of the shelter cluster, developing an understanding of the role of  the IFRC in  leading  the Global Shelter Cluster and importantly the roles and responsibilities of partners in the Vanuatu Shelter Cluster.

A practical exercise led by Vanuatu Red Cross gave participants hands-on experience of emergency shelter construction which grounded their classroom-based learning, giving them an understanding of  the  challenges faced by disaster affected people.

The final two days of the training focused on the management of evacuation centres with participants discussing criteria for selecting evacuation centres (building standard and fitness for purpose) and  establishing  guidelines for the management of evacuation centres and provision of services during an emergency or disaster.

Following the training, the Vanuatu Shelter Cluster will continue to make preparations for the coming Tropical Cyclone season.

The Evacuation Centre Working group used the momentum generated by the training to convene a meeting and progress the development of national standards for evacuation centre selection and  guidelines for  evacuation centre management.


The EU-ACP Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific is a European Union supported project (€19,367,000) implemented in partnership with SPC.  Its objective is to reduce the vulnerability, as well as the social,  economic and environmental costs of disasters caused by natural hazards, thereby achieving regional and national sustainable development and poverty reduction goals in 15 Pacific countries of the Africa Caribbean  Pacific (ACP) group of states.




For further information please contact: Dr Kirstie Méheux, Senior Adviser – Disaster Risk Management Training and Professional Development, SPC, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or +679 9315 189

Last Updated on Friday, 25 September 2015 16:19  


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