Locals thanked as donations head off to Vanuatu

Kim Hammond with Kamaya, Jeremiah and Joseph from Pango village in Vanuatu.
Kim Hammond with Kamaya, Jeremiah and Joseph from Pango village in Vanuatu.

The Merimbula community has once again shown its generosity with truckloads of donations being sent to help those in need in Vanuatu. 

Merimbula resident Kim Hammond has a holiday house in Vanuatu and has helped to ensure everyone’s donations go where they are needed. 

“I didn’t organise this, people came to me. They knew I had a connection with Vanuatu and they came to me and asked if I knew a way for them to help,” Ms Hammond said. 

“People chased me down in the street, rang me and messaged me on Facebook. So many people saw the devastation caused by the cyclone and wanted to do something but just weren’t sure of what to do.”

Ms Hammond collected everyone’s donations which comprised cleaning products, linen, toiletries, food, clothes and even children’s toys. 

“I drove a car load of aid to Canberra to go on an urgent container but there was just so much we also sent a pallet of donations up to Sydney.”

Neville Bobbin of Bobbins Transport offered to take the pallet of donations to a collection point in Sydney. From there the donations will be given to the National Disaster Management Office who are ensuring that aid is distributed to all parts of Vanuatu. 

Ms Hammond and her husband, Colin, left for Vanuatu on Saturday, April 4, planning to spend 10 days there both rebuilding their house as well as helping her neighbours to rebuild their homes. 

“It was really hard hearing about the cyclone. It happened on the Friday and I couldn’t get in contact with any of my friends there until the Tuesday. I was so worried.    

“They are all okay but their homes have been destroyed. When I heard from my neighbour, Rosita, she asked if I could send her a tent, her home had been destroyed and she wanted a tent to live in.”

Although desperately wanting to help Rosita, Ms Hammond had no way of ensuring the tent would actually make it to her neighbour. The only way she could ensure that her donations went directly to her friends was to take it over herself. 

Ms Hammond increased her baggage allowance and packed extra supplies that she will distribute to those in Pango village who are most in need. She even planned to take a much-needed chainsaw to help with clearing and rebuilding.

Ms Hammond wanted to thank everyone for their donations. 

“It is amazing how much everyone wants to help. The generosity from the community is just beautiful. I know the people of Vanuatu will appreciate everything. I cannot express how much I appreciate everyone’s support.”