It has been over two years since Cyclone Pam tore through the islands of Vanuatu, a very strong Category 5 cyclone, leaving roofing iron curled back on existing house roofing or school buildings or iron wedged in trees, or just torn away completely and deposited miles away.

Most donors had packed up and left Vanuatu just a few months after Pam but the Vanuatu Branch of BlueScope Lysaght under the direction of BlueScope Lysaght’s Manager Narcisse Sumptoh was hard at work for two-and-half years ensuring their donated iron-roofing gathered together from branches and suppliers around the Pacific only assists those most requiring help.

BlueScope Vanuatu’s Manager Narcisse, was one of the first to offer the rebuilding of schools assistance. This mountain of roofing material was offered following an appeal for roofing iron was circulated by Narcisse Sumptoh after viewing the devastation faced by the schools in and around Efate.

This appeal was answered by Mr Etournaud Denis, the BlueScope Steel President of the Pacific Region who gathered their branches from around the Pacific to send unused iron to support the schools. Many roofing iron arrived in Port Vila donated via the BlueScope branches and businesses representing some 50 tons of donated roofing material.

One of the first to gain this assistance was Suango Mele Primary School on Efate. This school had damage to almost every building within the school grounds – some just lost roofing sheets others had the whole roofing structure torn away with the sheer force of winds delivered by Cyclone Pam down Mele Bay. This school has now benefited from 10 classrooms and offices gaining donated roofing iron.

Engineer, Mr Cyrille Mainguy said “without the generosity and support of BlueScope Vanuatu and all branches within the Group, the rebuilding of this school would have stalled due to the huge cost involved given the volume of iron required to reroof just Suango”.

Early October 2017 saw BlueScope Lysaght recognised as one of the leading donors assisting Suango Mele Primary School (now known as Millenium Imere Junior Secondary School) which opened its new senior classrooms.

These buildings at Suango represent the generosity of donors such as BlueScope in supplying many miles of roofing iron to this School along with other donors with funding and others in-kind support enabling new facilities to be constructed at this school.

Other donor assisting Suango and other projects with BlueScope have included Ratua Foundation, SHaRM Foundation, Pierre & Danielle Lahilaire and the Mele-Vanuatu Association, Les Citees de France, The Lodge of Discovery, Rotary International and Volunteer Vanuatu and many more.

A signboard recognising all those donors who came together on any project has been fitted to the schools when the school received assistance such as repairs and reroofing.

Many schools or facilities located in Port Vila, rural Efate or Tanna that suffered damage due to Cyclone Pam have also benefited via the BlueScope Group’s appeal. This appeal was successfully coordinated by BlueScope’s, Narcisse Sumptoh and Cyrille Mainguy, of Mainguy Consulting Engineers since April 2015 but now these donation supplies are dwindling.

The criteria set by Sumptoh and Mainguy was to assist the schools more severely affected and only Cyclone Pam damaged buildings qualified for the donated roofing iron via the BlueScope Group’s appeal to get children out of tents into proper classrooms.

Educational facilities gaining support from BlueScope project since April 2015 repairing and reroofing included 44 school classrooms, laboratory, a dormitory, three school offices, three halls/cathedral roof.

The following educational facilities assisted include — Montmartre Secondary School; Teuoma Greenhill School; Sainte Jeanne D’arc Primary School; Suango Mele Primary School; Vila North School; Vila East School; Manua Centre Primary School, Vila East School; Anabrou School; Ohlen Kindergarten; Ecole Maternelle de Sacre Coeur, Erakor School, AUF, Port Vila; part of the Port Vila Cathedral; Ecole Maternelle du Sacre Coeur – Anabrou Annex; Isangle School in Tanna; Lycee LAB; Ecole Maternelle Malasitabou Freshwota; and College de Lenaula in Tanna and soon Takara Primary School.

With a dwindling supply of donated iron, all donors are very grateful for BlueScope’s support of these essential educational facilities. One of the last schools to receive assistance in November 2017 is Takara Primary School which remains under canvas from Cyclone Pam with severe damage to the natangora roof. The roof will be shortly be replaced by BlueScope corrugated iron from the donor iron donation fund.

On behalf of all the schools assisted via the BlueScope donations, a big thank you goes out to BlueScope Lysaght, to Narcisse Sumptoh, and their Pacific Branches and to Cyrille Mainguy for his project management of those schools requiring assistance. Their ongoing support has enabled the pikininis of Vanuatu to return to classrooms in the knowledge they have been repaired strong and safe to endure future strong cyclone winds.

It is believed there are only a few schools remain in “tents” or under tarpaulins but it is hoped they too can be supported by donors should BlueScope donate iron still be available and the repairs fit the criteria.

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