TC Harold, Pacific 'hierarchy of threats', COVID-19 and Climate Change, and more

Posted on 07 April 2020

+ Cat 5 Tropical Cyclone Harold (Solomon Islands & Vanuatu)

Tropical Cyclone Harold, is the first Category-5 storm to make landfall since Vanuatu declared a state of emergency on the 29th March (due to COVID-19). It is the worst storm to hit Vanuatu since 2015’s deadly Cyclone Pam, and the cyclone casts a spotlight on how humanitarian groups will respond during major emergencies.

With destructive winds of over 225km/h, TC Harold passed directly over Santo and hundreds of people are sheltering in evacuation centres. In Luganville, a town of 16,000 people, roofs have been blown off houses, trees snapped, and the council building has been destroyed. TC Harold showed no sign of weakening as it moved across Vanuatu.

There are currently no recorded COVID-19 cases in Vanuatu, but many Pacific nations have already sealed their borders to prepare for a pandemic. The Vanuatu National Disaster Management Office has confirmed they will likely renew their COVID-19 state of emergency when it ends 9 April,  and manage associated risks while facilitating the TC Harold response 

Abraham Nasak, director of the National Disaster Management Office, confirmed on Sunday that physical distancing was not a priority, as people sought shelter, "The rules about social gatherings don't apply right now because people need to be moving to safe shelters and evacuation centres to hide from the cyclone.” The National Disaster Management Office is also developing protocols for the handling of incoming emergency relief supplies. Given the concerns around the potential importation of COVID-19, they have stated that they do not want international personnel support at this stage.

As with the current emergency response within Vanuatu, the COVID-19 pandemic promises a rethink of how humanitarian and development assistance might be reshaped across the Pacific and around the globe.


CID Webinar: Get your legal questions answered

CID is hosting a webinar with ParryField Lawyers on the legal impacts of COVID-19 on charities, on Wednesday 8 April at 3.00 pm.

ParryField Lawyers, Steven Moe and Kris Morrison will answer all your COVID-19 legal questions, and help you make sense of what your rights and responsibilities are.
Please let us know before the webinar, what topics or questions you would like to cover so they can come prepared. Send questions to
They will also host a live Q&A session during the webinar.
Topics could include - government subsidies; health & safety obligations and responsibilities working from home; reporting requirements, AGMs and Board meeting; Schedule 32; what you can and can’t do if you’re not an ‘essential service’ - and much more.

Join the Zoom event here, and find more details here.

Pacific 'hierarchy of threats'

The impact of COVID-19 in the Pacific is still unknown, although more cases are being reported every day. But given that testing is very limited, and border closures make it hard to get tests to Brisbane, the full extent of COVID-19 is yet to be realised.

Even so, as TC Harold shows, there are other threats in the Pacific that are just as urgent. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) has listed its top 5 threats, based on feedback from Pacific governments and communities:

1. Human security and state security

2. Climate change

3. Natural disasters

4. Natural resources

5. China

Strong Feminist lens for Canadian response to COVID-19 

While Canada’s response to global and bilateral requests for assistance includes a focus on vaccine development and global health security capacity building, it also aims to ensure that its international partners can maintain their services for vulnerable populations where possible, including support for sexual and reproductive health and rights. Investment in these programs is aligned with Canada’s feminist international assistance approach.

“The COVID-19 virus knows no borders. This has been a wake-up call for the world to stand in solidarity and work together. If there was ever a time for countries and governments to support one another and invest in health globally, it is right now,” said Karina Gould, Minister of International Development". Full article here

+ COVID-19 Learning Pathway for local responders

COVID-19 Learning Pathway was launched by the Humanitarian Leadership Academy to enable humanitarians, including local responders, to be best equipped to respond to the global pandemic COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

The COVID-19 Learning Pathway contains the following:

  • Online technical capacity strengthening programmes to support humanitarians’ responses during this crisis, covering a number of critical topics, including Public Health, Child Protection and Gender/Equality;
  • Online soft skills and remote working capacity strengthening programmes to support humanitarians’ responses during this crisis; 
  • A library of key downloadable resources relating to working in the context of COVID-19, including remote working guides and resilience support.

COVID-19 – not a silver lining for Climate Change

Head of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Inger Andersen, has cautioned against viewing the lowering of greenhouse gas emissions and increased air quality in response to government reactions to COVID-19, as a win.


She maintains that the positive impacts are temporary, and come with an economic slowdown and human distress and that the pandemic will result in an increase in the amounts of medical and hazardous waste. Full article here.

A short doco on Europe's forgotten war

Six years after conflict erupted in April 2014 between Russian-backed separatists and the Ukrainian military in eastern Ukraine, the war makes few headlines but definitely isn’t over: more than 13,000 people have been killed and tens of thousands wounded – many of them civilians.

Ukraine’s conflict disproportionately affects elderly people, and aid groups have for years been treating thousands for hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease – all underlying conditions that now make older people, in particular, more vulnerable to COVID-19.

Late last year video journalist Frederick Gillingham travelled to frontline areas in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region and gained access to the operations of some unlikely humanitarian workers: employees of the state utility company Voda Donbasa. 

Access the documentary here.

+ Increased COVID-19 cases in Greece refugee and migrant camp

23 migrants have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Ritsona open accommodation site in Central Greece. The International Organization for Migration (IOM), who manages the camp hosting 2,700 people, expressed that, “Everyone is at risk..”.

Greek authorities have placed the site under quarantine for 14 days and are carrying out contact tracing and further testing in the camp. The camp is one of 30 open accommodation facilities on mainland Greece, accommodating over 25,000 people. The full article is available here.

+ Charities in NZ and Australia unite in COVID-19

New Zealand domestic and aid charities have come together to present a set of initiatives to the government about how best to support the Not-For-Profit sector which has been severely impacted by COVID-19.

The focus is on our collective ability to keep supporting the recipients of services and aid in a time when funds and donations for NGOs are going to be critically affected. 

The New Zealand letter is due out shortly. 

Here is a copy of the Australian letter from the charitable sector to government. In Australia, the sector has established a Charities Crisis Cabinet.

The CID Weekly is Proudly Sponsored By
Direct Impact Group supports organisations to maximise their social impact, because changing the world isn't easy, and in dynamic times this work is more important than ever.

+ COVID-19 Resources 

+ UNDP webinars on COVID-19 and Development

UNDP Seoul Policy Centre (USPC) is organizing three webinars on Post-COVID-19: Implications for International (Development) Cooperation.

The world is working on mitigating the enormous challenges of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, however, some ideas on what the recovery will require are already emerging. It is certain that it will represent a major game-changer in the international (development) cooperation.

Join experts from Southern and Northern think tanks as they discuss how COVID-19 can create momentum for more and better international cooperation. Each webinar gives some time for Q&A.

  1. First Webinar: Thursday, April 9, 2020 (8:30-9:30 PM Seoul time)
  2. Second Webinar: Thursday, April 14, 2020 (10-11 PM Seoul time)
  3. Third Webinar: Thursday, April 16, 2020 (10-11 PM Seoul time)

Find more information, here.

+ Podcast during lockdown - inspiring New Zealanders

Parry Field Lawyer Steven Moe who is facilitating a webinar tomorrow on legal advice for INGOs during COVID-19,  also hosts a series of podcast.

Seeds podcast has more than 170 interviews and 62,000 listens of inspiring people in New Zealand and beyond. Its also on all podcast apps. 

"The key is to understand the background of people - what drives them & what is their 'why'? " says Steven.

Interviews are with entrepreneurs and social enterprises, including economist Shamubeel Eaqub on the impact of COVID-19 and what might result; a 6-year-old on what life is like at that age; Mary Scanlon, a 90-year-old nun about love; and a review of Brene Browne's recent book "Dare to Lead".

+ Events, Webinars, podcasts and training

For a list of all online events coming up, see below in the 'Events' section.

If you know of other webinars or talks, please let the CID team know so we can get the message out.

 Events During Lockdown
+ CID Activities
  • TC Harold notifications & preparation of Humanitarian Network coordination meetings
  • Charities Services, and UN/ ICVA Working Group meetings relating to Covid-19
  • CID Survey: Capacity Snapshot for COVID-19 Response planned and launched
  • CID Humanitarian Network COVID-19 weekly catch up
  • CEO weekly catch up
  • Engagement/ attendance at NZ Charities Services meeting & regional ICVA meetings
  • Daily COVID-19 CID updates compiled and shared on our website
  • Webinars/podcasts/online events in planning
  • CID Webinar 'Get your COVID-19 legal questions answered' preparations
  • CID workshop on 'Public Engagement' reshaping


Pacific Islands Health Humanitarian