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  • Writer's pictureNicola Smart

Practical help to Vanuatu in the wake of Cyclone Harold

As the world went into social isolation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, another tragedy was unfolding in the South Pacific. Category 5 Cyclone Harold formed in Solomon Islands and ripped through northern Vanuatu leaving a trail of destruction, before moving on to Fiji. Consistent with our vision and mission, Partner Housing resolved to bring practical help to the people of Vanuatu in their efforts to rebuild.

For many years, Partner Housing has been developing the cyclone, earthquake and tsunami resistant DANCER Building System for village houses, clinics, schools and community buildings. It relies on the principle of direct anchorage of the roof to the substructure via bolted timber connections. While we promote it as being innovative (which it is), it is firmly grounded in relevant Australian Standards, backed up by a comprehensive testing program and incorporating practical feedback from construction sites.

Partner Housing currently has an agreement with the Vanuatu Government to build 83 DANCER houses and community buildings in Port Vila. In response to Cyclone Harold, we have extended this arrangement, providing designs suitable for rebuilding village houses, clinics, schools and community buildings in the devastated northern part of Vanuatu. Partner Housing stands ready to provide further professional assistance if requested by the Government.

Badly damaged buildings near Port Vila on April 7, 2020, after Tropical Cyclone Harold swept past. Source: AFP

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