A community worker is to help rebuild a cyclone destroyed country.
Committed Linda Francis, from Mount, is head to the front line of the crisis in the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu, which was left devastated on March 13 after one of the most intense tropical cyclones of the year so far, Cyclone Pam, hit its shores.
Linda, of Moorlands Edge, was moved by shocking scenes of the storm, which included winds of up to 198mph and huge waves that flattened or damaged around 90 per cent of the archipelago’s buildings and affected at least 132,000 of its entire 266,937 population.
Putting a halt on her job, which involves work as a self employed community worker, she will catch a plane to the nation’s capital Port Vila on the island of Efate on September 26 where she will begin one month of volunteering with not-for-profit relief organisation, Volunteer Vanuatu.
“I didn’t know anything about Vanuatu until March, when I must have heard or seen something about the cyclone”, said Lina, 52.
“Something just said I needed to go there and help– I had a calling.
“I found out more about the island then came across the Volunteer Vanuatu site and because I’ve worked as a community worker thought I’d the right skills to help.
“I contacted the organisation and they were happy for me to come.
“People have lost everything there– their homes, infrastructure, farms– it’s all been washed away.”
Linda may travel around the islands providing essential help to restore people’s lives.
A cyclone is a low pressure weather system in the tropics that causes gales, huge waves and heavy rain.
“It was one of the poorest nations before the cyclone hit but Volunteer Vanuatu is doing all sorts such as building schools, clinics and houses, restoring a safe sanitation system, carrying out repairs and distributing food and water.
“Volunteers also help with education and skills development through workshops.
“I will do anything that they want me to do because I want to show them that people in the west do care but would like to be involved in community regeneration.”
She is funding the entire trip herself.
“I’ve done some fundraising before but nothing quite like this.
“It’s costing me £2,000 at the moment but it’s worth it because it’s so important to me.
“We seem to be inundated with news from the Middle East now but it’s important not to forget what else is happening and needs our support elsewhere in the world.”
To donate to Volunteer Vanuatu, click here.