The UN is checking reports 44 are dead in Vanuatu’s outer islands in Penema Province by Cyclone Pam. The winds are still very strong in Vanuatu and Pam heads towards New Zealand. No images of destruction is available, communication is still down.
Another major cyclone, Cyclone Olwyn is looming on Yeppoon in Rockhampton, Queensland. Olwyn has been running down the coast of Australia at the same time as Cyclone Pam.
Pam, a category 5 cyclone made a direct hit on the Vanuatu archipelago’s capital Port Vila, after travelling through Kiribati, Tuvalu and Solomon Islands.
Pam crashed through the 80 islands of the archipelago last night as an unexpected change of course put key populated areas in the path of its destructive 270km h winds.
UNICEF team on the ground
LATEST: UNICEF Pacific Communications Specialist Alice Clements spoke to Radio New Zealand where she mentioned unconfirmed reports of deaths.
“We have some very unconfirmed reports of casualties from the outer islands as well but we’re waiting to get official confirmation on those, which is very sad news if it’s true.”
Speaking to Mashable, Alice described the devastation in the capital of Port Vila, where she sheltered from the storm.
“There’s still really strong winds. There’s debris everywhere, there are buildings that are destroyed… this is really a catastrophe,” she said. “People haven’t experienced a storm of this strength here.”
Alice also told Radio New Zealand the storm had gone on far longer than anyone expected.
“I stayed in a concrete hotel that was three storeys high, and even so I’d lost the sliding doors from my room, I had all the wind howling through the room. It was terrifying.”