The long, agonising wait for Tropical Cyclone Pam - which was categorised a category five cyclone - ended last night as it smashed into Vanuatu, a country of an estimated 250,000 people. It also hit a number of remote islands as it moved across the eastern part of the Solomon Islands.
The winds sounded like they would scatter trees like confetti and pick up trees like toothpicks.
World Vision staff who were on the island as the cyclone hit say the winds sounded like they would scatter trees like confetti and pick up trees like toothpicks.
So far it’s been difficult to get the full details of the cyclone’s impact, because telecommunication within Vanuatu is unstable. However it is believed that Tropical Cyclone Pam has caused widespread damage in Vanuatu and has affected some outer islands of the Solomon Islands.
World Vision Vanuatu has started initial assessments around the capital, Port Vila, but there has been no contact with other islands at this time. Roads are impassable and there are risks of landslides.
Roads are impassable and there are risks of landslides.
A week’s warning of the arrival of Cyclone Pam allowed people in Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands to evacuate from coastlines, and World Vision was able to work with communities to help them prepare.
Our staff trained communities on how to map threats, plan evacuations and learn valuable Search and Rescue skills.
However, the force of Cyclone Pam means concern remains for the safety of people in remote locations who did not have adequate access to safe shelters.
World Vision Vanuatu and Solomon Islands are preparing for relief operations to reach remote areas and bring essential support to affected communities as soon as possible.
People’s immediate needs are likely to be access to clean water, food and shelter, as well as support with general household and hygiene items.
People’s immediate needs are likely to be access to clean water, food and shelter, as well as support with general household and hygiene items. World Vision has items including tarpaulins, tools for repairs, water containers, mosquito nets, hygiene kits, baby kits and kitchen sets ready to distribute.
With more than 30 years of experience in Vanuatu and 80 staff based throughout the country, World Vision has been working closely with national and local government disaster response teams to monitor the situation and will continue to do so as we prepare to respond.
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