`In the wake of Cyclone Pam back in March 2015, Tanna was devastated. Aside from one or two of Vanuatu’s really small islands which also were directly in Pam’s path, Tanna fared worst. Mauled by the 280-kph winds, Tanna was stripped bare of vegetation. Most villagers lost their homes. Worse, their food was all ripped out of the ground and blown away.
Aid groups came, did a marvelous job, and then left. But then in August, El Niño, the Pacific Ocean weather condition, arrived and bequeathed a further legacy: drought. Adding insult to Pam’s injury, the El Niño has dried up and killed the villagers’ newly-planted crops. This has left most of the people of Tanna – about 30,000 – without food. Experts are saying the drought could continue throughout the first few months of 2016.
The 330 students who attend the Kapalpal School have been fortunate. In partnership with US-based Feed My Starving Children (FMSC), Bethezer has been able to provide a nutritious meal for the children every school day since Pam’s tempestuous visit in March. (FMSC has donated the meals; Bethezer has covered shipment costs from the Upper Midwest, in the US, to the school.) The meal comes from FMSC’s Manna Pack which has been specifically formulated for malnourished and starving children.
At our request, Feed my Starving Children also provided Bethezer with its Potato-W meal, a potato-based weaning food designed specifically for children 7 to 12 months old. Potato-W has been critical for some of the infants and younger children in the area of the school. In some cases it has been the only source of food for them.
FMSC’s meals have kept our school children and the babies in the villages around the Kapalpal school healthy in a time when food has been scarce. We thank Feed My Starving Children for their generous food assistance. It has truly helped.