Vanuatu welcomes berth of first cruise ship

PORT VILA – Nearly four weeks ago an unwanted visitor — Cyclone Pam — arrived in Vanuatu, killing 11 people and devastating livelihoods.

Since then, the local people have worked tirelessly to rebuild their lives and their country.

Today their efforts got a huge boost with the arrival of the Pacific Dawn, the first cruise ship to berth since the cyclone.

The people of Vanuatu showed their appreciation in their own unique way when the ship arrived, loaded with aid and 2000 mainly Australian tourists.

The market stallholders in Port Vila, many of whom lost everything, were somehow ready.

Stallholder Sarah Paton lost her crops and her home was badly damaged. Like so many, she hasn’t earned a living for four weeks.

“I am very happy the cruise ship is here, good economy for our nation and even our grassroots people,” she says.

Ms Paton couldn’t afford to bargain or barter because prices are up. But tourists didn’t mind, saying any support they can give to help get Vanuatu back to what it once was, or what it will be, is great.

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