Tag Archives: Cyclone hit Vanuatu

Villagers Buried Food and Water to Survive – After Cyclone

This is a nice ending to a horrible story last week about Cyclone Pam, a category 5 cyclone that swept across several Pacific Island countries before hitting Vanuatu. Lessons to learn from the Melanesian villagers.

Island of Togoa
Destruction in a village on Togoa Island, Vanuatu.

Reuters reported that villagers in Vanuatu buried food and fresh water as one of the strongest storms on record bore down on them, fleeing to churches, schools and even coconut drying kilns as 300 kph winds and massive seas tore their flimsy houses to the ground.

Despite reports of utter devastation six days after Cyclone Pam pummelled the Pacific island nation, Vanuatu appears to be providing something of a lesson in how to survive a category 5 storm.

The United Nations says the official death toll is 11. Many officials anticipate that number will rise once they are able to more thoroughly inspect the outer islands of the scattered archipelago.

Still, the absence of a much higher toll has amazed aid workers and those who lived through it.

“It’s absolutely unbelievable the death toll is so low,” said Richard Barnes, 43, a property valuer from New Zealand who has lived near the capital Port Vila, on Efate island for seven years.

Two days ago, a helicopter flight over the north of Efate revealed scenes of total devastation with at least one coastal village destroyed and no sign of life.

When visited a day later, dozens of villagers were back rebuilding with what materials they could find and reporting only one injury, said Barnes, who was on Cayman Island in 2004 when Hurricane Ivan hit.

“The resilience is amazing … Everyone is just getting on with it, which was different from Cayman where everyone just sat around waiting for something to be done,” Barnes said.

Perched on the geologically active “Ring of Fire”, Vanuatu suffers from frequent earthquakes and tsunamis and has several active volcanoes, in addition to threats from storms and rising sea levels.

China joined in with Australia and New Zealand, pledging $4 Million to assist Vanuatu in the recovering process.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-22/julie-bishop-in-vanuatu/6339270 Julie Bishop meets women at the Vanuatu Crisis Centre. Pic: Jeff Tan Action Aid Australia

From ABC News, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has pledged long-term support for Vanuatu during a visit to the Pacific nation ravaged by Tropical Cyclone Pam.

Ms Bishop, who flew in on a Royal Australian Air Force flight, toured the command centre for cyclone relief efforts in the capital Port Vila, and visited a school and hospital being rebuilt with Australian assistance.

She also met with Vanuatu’s prime minister Joe Natuman and promised on-going support.

“Australia has responded quickly to requests from the government of Vanuatu, we have sent more than 11 military planes over with equipment, lifesaving supplies, humanitarian support personnel,” she said.

Thousands of people remain homeless in the stricken country, as Vanuatu’s government coordinates relief efforts to get immediate aid to more than 60 inhabited remote islands in the archipelago.

It has begun to send out food aid and seedlings to parts of the country hit hardest by Cyclone Pam after a week of assessments and planning.

Aid flows in for Vanuatu, Death Toll Still Unknown

A home-owner tries to make sense if what Cyclone Pam left of his sago palm roof.

As world-wide aid flows in for Vanuatu, death the toll is still unknown.

Communications and some electricity have been installed in parts of Port Vila, after Cyclone Pam’s weekend devastation.


Thank you very much to all the friends/bloggers who shared my post calling for help for Vanuatu. For the latest news, there is power connection and communication in Port Vila. All outer islands still cannot be reached and death toll is still unknown except for the eight initially reported.

Those who are interested to donate to assist recovery work in Vanuatu, please click on the link below. I am sharing this link from Vanuatu friends (including a senior minister and member of parliament)

Donate direct to Cyclone Pam/Vanuatu’s Recovery programme – click here

What are the funds for?

As a community of researchers, volunteers, aid workers, friends and family we are saddened by the loss of life and injuries caused by Cyclone Pam. As an international community with links to Vanuatu we want to help.

Our hearts go out to all our friends and family in Vanuatu.

Funds will be spent directly in Vanuatu on rebuilding essential infrastructure at the Central Hospital, Port Vila. The Central Hospital sustained significant damage and flooding during the cyclone. This is significantly impacting on the care that the hospital can currently offer its patients.

Allocation of funds will be administered on-the-ground by a Committee made up of the Vanuatu High Commissioner or his representative, a representative of the Australian Friends of Vanuatu, and a representative of the Vanuatu Department of Finance.

Who will manage the funds?

This is a joint initiative based on an ongoing partnership between ‘the Australian Friends of Vanuatu’ and the Vanuatu High Commission, located in Canberra.

The request to set up this funds comes directly from the Vanuatu High Commission. The Vanuatu High Commissioner Kalfau Kaloris has been involved in developing this fund with representatives from the Australian Friends of Vanuatu.

The bank account attached to this fund is located in the Vanuatu High Commission, in Canberra. All funds will be properly acquitted to donors.

Vanuatu After Cyclone Pam Last Night

Storm damage to boats caused by Cyclone Pam in Port Villa (UNICEF Pacific)
Residents search for belongings amidst storm damaged property (UNICEF Pacific)

Australia offers help to Vanuatu. Strong winds still prevents the authorities from confirming the number of deaths and cost of damage.

Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said that Canberra was ready to assist, and had medical and search and rescue staff on standby while New Zealand immediately announced NZ$1 million in an initial funds to assist Vanuatu, Fiji, Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands.

Aid agencies have launched appeals and are hoping to start flying in emergency supplies of food, shelter and medicine from Sunday, when the airport in Port Vila is expected to reopen.
“We are extremely concerned for the safety and wellbeing of tens of thousands of people as one of the most intense cyclones to ever hit any Pacific country continues to batter Vanuatu,” said Australian Red Cross’ head of international programmes Peter Walton.
United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon, speaking from Japan, said while the impact was not yet clear “we fear the destruction and damage would be widespread” as he offered his deepest condolences to the people of Vanuatu.
Fiji Weather Service meteorologist Neville Koop said the cyclone was weakening as it slowly moved away from Vanuatu, and would pass between Fiji and New Caledonia before brushing the North Island of New Zealand on Monday.
Koop said Pam was not the strongest cyclone for the South Pacific, with Zoe packing bigger winds when it hit Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands in 2002. But he said the current storm had gusts of 320 kilometres per hour and sustained winds of 250 kilometres per hour.

Dozens Feared Dead in Vanuatu

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.

Watch Nine News

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.”