Cyclone Harold in Vanuatu

When Cyclone Harold hit the islands as a category 5 cyclone in 2020, around 160,000 people were affected. We have worked with CARE Vanuatu to get essential aid to the families who needed it.

home destroyed by cyclone harold vanuatu

On April 6 2020, Cyclone Harold made landfall in Vanuatu as a Category 5 cyclone, bringing devastation to communities in the north.

It was the strongest cyclone to hit the islands since Cyclone Pam in 2015.

Harold destroyed thousands of houses, damaged food crops, and caused widespread power outages. Some communities were completely flattened by the cyclone, with electricity posts broken in two and roofs torn off by the powerful cyclonic wind.

Communities had to use what little building material they could salvage to create storage for their remaining possessions. These structures were too small to use as shelter, so many people had to sleep out in the open.

How have we helped?

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, access to the country was extremely difficult.

As we weren’t able to send a response team, we partnered with CARE Vanuatu to get much-needed aid to the most vulnerable families.

Families received tarpaulins and rope, solar lights and kitchen sets. The tools and fixings contained in the shelter kits were considered as community tools, which is a usual practice in Vanuatu.

The feedback we received has been positive. CARE recently held a meeting with village chiefs in South Pentecost, who specifically asked CARE to convey their deep appreciation to ShelterBox. Many of the community members said they had almost given up hope of receiving support.

Working through coronavirus

Man in Vanuatu receiving ShelterBox shelter kit following cyclone Harold

Vanuatu is a powerful example of the truth that disasters continue even as coronavirus wreaks havoc across the world.

It is one of a very few countries that has so far managed to keep coronavirus out. But it is also an example of how much more difficult disaster relief is during the global pandemic, with international and internal travel restrictions and strict protocols for humanitarian cargo, such as disinfection and 3-day quarantine.

As coronavirus spreads globally, shelter is needed now more than ever before. We’re working around the clock with our global partners to reach the most vulnerable families to provide essential shelter and aid.

Your support is crucial in these difficult times – please support our work and help families in crises all over the world.

Donate now

Where we're working

Flooding in Libya

ShelterBox is responding after severe flooding in Libya. Discover key facts and help people affected by disaster.

Earthquake in Morocco

ShelterBox is responding to the devastating earthquake in Morocco. Discover key facts and help people affected by disaster.


ShelterBox is working to support some of the thousands of people who have fled to Chad to escape the violence in Sudan.