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Vanuatu Cyclone Pam and YachtAid Global
Captain Mark Drewelow - C2C California
Posted: Saturday, April 18, 2015 9:21 PM
Joined: 07/12/2008
Posts: 68

YachtAid Global is in the news recently due to our disaster relief work in Vanuatu. 


For you readers that don't know about YachtAid Global see this link we are a registered non profit and have a published code of ethics which we work by.


We are nearly 10  years doing meaningful projects around the world.  YAG is the Superyacht industry authority on integration of superyachts as an asset during rapid onset disaster and for moving developmental aid around the world into isolated coastal communities. 


We have been monitoring and studying rapid onset disaster over the years and see a few trends in how yachts and crew are impacted:

  1. Yacht immediately departs the area with all crew aboard
  2. Yacht immediately departs the area but one or more crew stay behind, they have local friends and want to help
  3. Yacht stays and dedicates crew and assets to help for a specific time frame
  4. Yacht commits to to help but requires relocation from far away
Our duty at YAG is to prepare yachts for what to do in situations 2, 3, 4 outlined above.  It will be the same scenario during future rapid onset disasters, cyclone, tsunami, earthquake, etc.  The key criteria that align to put an area on our watch list are: 
  1. On the cruising route and a place that Superyachts visit
  2. Well defined cyclone season
  3. Major yachting hub nearby, Auckland, where yachts depart from typically after cyclone season which is April / May in this area

  We did our first Vanuatu project with superyacht #Slojo back in 2011 which formed the foundation of our location relationships in Vanuatu.  


Most recently we provided funding to local npo Promedical  in 2014 in the way of a $ 20,000 usd grant for EMT training.


The disaster relief efforts by YachtAid Global in Vanuatu carry on every day to this date since the storm hit. We started pre planning for how to handle the storms impact 10 days before the storm hit.  At first it was a broad geographic area which narrowed and focused on Vanuatu as the storm aged and strengthened.


As of April 18 there are two more yachts in the pipeline to help, one confirmed and one pending.  All the disaster relief work is being planned directly with the United Nations cluster groups in Port Vila Vanuatu as well as National Disaster Management Office ( NDMO )  of the Vanuatu government.   


Tasking for the yachts comes directly from the UN clusters and government offices NOT from YAG.  What you all see in the media is not a singular effort by a Captain and crew, it is a very very large effort of behind the scenes people and entities, the yacht and the crew are the end result tools that save lives and alleviate suffering and it is very difficult and high risk work. 


YAG is the conduit to find yachts that want to help, define the capabilities of the yachts as an asset to use, establish rules of engagement with NDMO and the cluster groups, draw together the right team to support the yacht and act as the buffer between the yacht and NDMO and the cluster groups and more.  In addition to hands on work, the yachts involved collect and transmit actionable data back to NDMO and the cluster groups on a daily basis when on site.  Actionable facts and data are a HUGE void in the first days or weeks of a natural disaster.


Cyclone Pam has required us to use every tool in our roster, and draw from every experience accumulated over the years and reach out to multiple contacts around the South Pacific for support.  The operating theater in Vanuatu is complex and extremely challenging and uniquely suited to yachts, essentially self contained disaster relief vessels. 


Key partners and supporters of the relief work, along with captain and crew of DF and Umbra who really put themselves out there in a high risk constantly changing environment : 

  • Michael Rettig -LIFT non profit logistics 
  • Sam and Jess Bell -Kaleva Yachting Services superyacht support specialists 
  • Dave and Lynn -Butterfly Trust rural communities access to health care and education 
  • Michael Benjamin and team -Promedical emergency medical care, search and rescue, community support and more 
  • Derik Wagner -MTN providing bandwidth enhancement during critical times of need 
  • Steve Fischer -Rivergate Shipyard and Marina funding thousands of water containers 
  • Christian Troy - water filtration 
  • Countless donors - Funding 

Thank you everyone  !!!! 


For those of you with time to read, here is some general info and links to excellent info about the UN clusters and Vanuatu disaster relief work: 


Detailed report from the World Food Program - Impact of Cyclone Pam  

Interesting read on how the UN cluster system works  


Captain Mark Drewelow

Founder, YachtAid Global 

more info and images to follow......