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.
By Jemima Garrett and staff
ABC reported that the Pacific Climate Warriors have arrived in Australia today to mount a protest against the Australian coal industry and call for action on climate change. The group made up of young Pacific Islanders represent 13 countries. They brought five specially made traditional canoes, which will lead a fleet of boats to blockade the coal port of Newcastle. In the group is the daughter of Marshall Islands president Christopher Loeak.
“The coal port is the largest in the world and there are plans for it to expand and we want to bring the message that the expansion is definitely going to have an effect on the islands, not just in the Marshalls but all over the Pacific,” said Milan Loeak.
“We just want to share our stories and make sure that people are aware that the decisions that are being made over here are directly affecting our islands back home.”
The Warriors are in Australia as part of 350.org’s protest of the port, which will culminate in a flotilla of the Warriors and Australian volunteers blocking coal exports for a day on Friday.
Fiji Climate Warrior George Nacewa said he had already seen villagers displaced by rising sea levels. He said the expansion of the port would have wide-ranging effects.
“These expansions will affect us and I live in a generation that has inherited a perfect environment but I am not too sure if I can pass this on to my kids and future generations to come,” he said.
Getting their send-off in Vanuatu, Iasoa Chief Kawea Sausiara told the Warriors the canoes carry a vital message.
“If climate change is not stopped we will lose our cultural activities. This is the message that we must remember. If not, Vanuatu will be nothing more than a wasteland,” he said.