ATHLETE WELFARE & PREPARATION FUND

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A grant of $500,000 (£330,000/€440,000) is to be provided to the Vanuatu Association of Sports And National Olympic Committee (VASNOC) so they can rebuild their headquarters which was devastated in the cyclone which hit the island last weekend.

The funds will be provided jointly by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), it was announced today.

A total of 11 people were killed in the natural disaster but many buildings have been destroyed and islanders left homeless.

At least half of the population, or about 130,000 people, has been affected, according to the Vanuatu Red Cross Society.

UNICEF estimates that at least 60,000 children across the country in the South Pacific Ocean could be at risk.

Besides helping rebuild the headquarters in the capital Port Vila, the money from the IOC and ANOC will also be used to help rebuild sports facilities in Vanuatu, an archipelago located in the South Pacific.

It will also provide aid to other countries in the region hit by the cyclone.

Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu have all also been affected by the tragedy.

"Our thoughts and the thoughts of the entire Olympic Movement are with the people of Vanuatu," said IOC President Thomas Bach.

"We are committed to providing aid to rebuild Vanuatu's sporting infrastructure as part of the nation's rebuilding process.

"We want to support the athletes in this region so that they can return to their sporting life as soon as possible, and in such a way give hope to the whole population.

"Especially in such times, sport can play its part in helping people normalise their lives and rebuilding a shattered society.

"We hope that our contribution will give hope to the people of Vanuatu and others in the region on their difficult path to recovery."

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