Tuesday 17 March 2015

Cyclone Pam: Vanuatu 'needs food'

Vanuatu urgently needs food and relief supplies, officials said, days after Cyclone Pam caused massive devastation across the Pacific nation.

Houses, schools and crops have been destroyed by the storm, which hit the islands as a category five.
Eleven people have died, the UN said, revising down an earlier toll of 24.
But this could rise. There are islands south of Port Vila where the situation is not yet known. Those who have flown over them report widespread damage.
Teams had managed to land on Tanna and Erromango islands - both directly in the path of the storm - on Tuesday afternoon local time, the Associated Press reported, citing an aid agency.
Military planes that have flown over the islands have reported extensive destruction to houses and crops.
"We understand that the reconnaissance imagery shows widespread devastation," Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said of Tanna. "Not only buildings flattened - palm plantations, trees. It's quite a devastating sight."

The struggle to reach Vanuatu's islands
Aurélia Balpe, head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) for the Pacific, says the Vanuatu government is co-ordinating assessment and aid, including flights to other islands. Aid agencies have organised themselves in clusters to better co-ordinate help.
But getting to islands is not easy. "There are difficulties in understanding how large a plane can land on some islands. In many of these small islands, they don't have ports that can handle large vessels. In some places we may need to construct landing places for planes and boats," she said.
Many smaller boats in Port Vila were damaged by the storm, and the distance is a challenge. "It's about 150km from Port Vila to the island of Erromango - which would take at least four hours in a small boat - and another 80km from Erromango to Tanna."
The weather is not helping. "The first couple of days were very difficult because of the cyclone, and even now there are really bad swells and storm surges," she said.

No comments:

Post a Comment