The United Nations is appealing for nearly $20 million for victims of Cyclone Pam which tore through the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu last month.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Friday the money is needed to continue basic relief efforts including providing food, safe drinking water and shelter.

The cyclone's winds of 270 kilometers (168 miles) per hour devastated much of the archipelago on March 13, killing 17 people and leaving about 65,000 homeless.

A U.N. appeal for about $30 million was launched on March 24 to cover the needs of 166,000 cyclone-affected people for three months but Dujarric said that to date donors have given only $10.7 million, just 36 per cent.