Family’s ties to Vanuatu run deep

Oak Bay man very familiar with tiny island devastated by Cyclone Pam

Cyclone Pam devastated many an island in its path as it tore through Vanuatu last weekend. Among them the tiny Erromango, with a deep Oak Bay connection.

“My great, great grandfather John Williams was a missionary killed on Erromango in 1839,” said David Williams.

Family members attended a reconciliation ceremony in 2009. As part of that they were gifted with the daughter of a chief, a decedent of a chief who had the missionary killed.

“People are extremely poor but extremely generous,” Williams said.

They worry for the daughter, Mary, and the rest of the residents they’ve come to call friends.

“We’re very concerned, of course, about our many friends there,” said Williams. “These people are in real need right now. It’s quite desperate, in fact, they’re running out of food and water.”

They’re working to raise funds through an Australian crowd-sourcing site (chuffed.org/project/vanuatu-heart-blong-mi-stap-wid-yu) and through other forms of social media.

“The little town called Williams Bay on the Williams River is completely destroyed, people were hiding in caves during the cyclone,” he said. “Crops are destroyed and 90 per cent of the food comes front the land, so unless aid gets there very quickly there will be starvation.”

The island of about 2,000 people is without communication and the simple airstrip can be out of service on a good day.

“It’s about as remote as you can get on this planet,” Williams said.

 

 

Just Posted

Spandads group collects, donates more than 100 used bikes

Oak Bay Bikes’ advent calendar donations go to fixing the used bikes

Colwood tops Grumpy Taxpayer$ 2019 Candy Cane Awards

Yearly awards for improved governance go to Colwood, Oak Bay, Victoria

Saanich police first in B.C. to offer mental health resiliency training

Departments from Oak Bay, Saanich, Central Saanich complete trauma training class

North Saanich Fire Department wins national Movember challenge

Team raises more than urban Edmonton, Toronto firefighters

Incident backs up northbound lanes of Pat Bay Highway

Drive BC warns of heavy congestion along busy route

Assessed value of Lower Mainland homes expected to decrease in 2020

Other areas of province may see modest increases over last year’s values

Chilliwack family’s therapy dog injured in hit and run

Miniature pit bull Fifty’s owner is a single mother facing close to $10,000 in vet bills

Cougar destroyed in Penticton area after mauling dog, killing cat

This is the first reported incident with a cougar this year in the Penticton area

Feds not enforcing standards on Hungarian duck imports, B.C. farmer says

‘You have no way of knowing what’s in the bag’

No reports yet of Canadians affected by New Zealand volcano eruption, feds say

Missing and injured included tourists from the U.S., China, Australia, Britain and Malaysia

Vancouver Island blues musician’s mother’s home burglarized and ransacked

David Gogo’s 71-year-old mother has jewelry and artwork stolen in break-in

Dance cancelled after Alberta teacher’s climate lesson prompts online threats

School district near Red Deer cancelled annual family dance due to Facebook comments

In surprise move, defence won’t call witnesses for accused in Abbotsford school killing

‘Change of instructions’ results in defence closing case without calling evidence

Most Read