Tag Archives: Massive storm 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.

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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.

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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.

Vanuatu Needs Your Help


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Paradise pounded: Vanuatu in the wake of Cyclone Pam 20150315_Vanuatu_Port Vila Cyclone Pam damage_CARE_Inga Mepham4.jpg Photo: CARE/Inga Mepham

Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced an initial $5 Million Aid recovery package for Vanuatu. The Category 5 Cyclone Pam that struck Vanuatu on Friday has devastated the country. This cyclone is possibly the strongest ever in the south Pacific region. Tens of thousands of people are homeless, without adequate food, water, shelter or sanitation.

The Government of Vanuatu estimates that 80% of homes have been either destroyed or have sustained significant damage. Communications infrastructure has been knocked out in the hardest hit islands and there are grave fears for rural communities that were directly under the path of the cyclone’s eye.

Essential services have been wiped out on most islands, and even in the nation’s capital Port Vila, home to about 60,000, restoring water and electricity may take weeks.

Vanuatu needs your urgent assistance. Here are our suggestions on how to help:

Australia is coordinating drop off points in Australia for relief supplies such as tarps, tents, ropes and tinned food. Please visit their page for details.

Emergency appeals you can donate online to are:

Donate to UNICEF Australia Cyclone Pam appeal

Donate to Red Cross Cyclone Pam Appeal or call 1800 811 700 to make a secure donation

Donate to Oxfam Australia International Crisis Fund – Cyclone Pam

Donate to CARE Australia Cyclone Pam Response or call 1800 020 046

Save The Children Cyclone Pam Appeal or call 1800 76 00 11.

New Zealand
Donate to Red Cross NZ Pacific Disaster Fund

UK and Europe
Donate to UNICEF UK Cyclone Pam fund

USA
Donate to UNICEF USA Cyclone Pam fund
Remember, give responsibly: some fake donation appeals are already circulating on social media. Only give to reputable organisations.

Vanuatu After Cyclone Pam Last Night


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Storm damage to boats caused by Cyclone Pam in Port Villa (UNICEF Pacific)
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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.”

Cyclone Pam: massive storm bears down on Vanuatu, with 260,000 people in its path


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Tropical cyclone Nathan, off Australia’s Queensland coast, and tropical cyclone Pam, near Vanuatu. Image: Australian Bureau of Meteorology/Japan Meteorological Agency

Tonight  Vanuatu is preparing for one of its worst storm predicted to hit the island later tonight. I hope that the people of Vanuatu will be safe as Pam travels through and completes her course. So far, Pam  has  destructed parts of several other small Pacific islands as she travelled down south.

The Guardian reported, the capital of Vanuatu went into lockdown as the “once-in-a-lifetime” storm bore down on the South Pacific island nation, threatening up to a quarter of a million people in its path.

Tropical cyclone Pam, a category five storm with predicted wind gusts of more than 280km/h at its core, was on track to hit the capital, Port Vila, at about 11pm Friday night, local time.

Evacuations across the country followed warnings of a life-threatening weather event bringing storm surges, torrential rain, flash flooding and landslides.

The United Nations agency UNICEF, which along with aid agencies was on the ground with personnel and emergency supplies, warned about 260,000 people were in the potential disaster zone.

Port Vila was in lockdown by 7pm local time, with sources in the area describing “panic” setting in among those who filled 12 evacuation centres, while hotels crammed with guests booked in to shelter for the night ordered them into underground bunkers.

Read more on the Guardian

http://gu.com/p/46tda/sbl