Over 90% houses destroyed as 'monster' Cyclone Pam struck Vanuatu

Terming the devastating Cyclone Pam as a 'monster', the President of the storm-hit island nation of Vanuatu has regretted the extent of destruction unleashed by the storm, saying that all the development had been “wiped out”.

By Supriya Jha | Updated: Mar 16, 2015, 14:10 PM IST
Over 90% houses destroyed as 'monster' Cyclone Pam struck Vanuatu

Port Vila: Terming the devastating Cyclone Pam as a 'monster', the President of the storm-hit island nation of Vanuatu has regretted the extent of destruction unleashed by the storm, saying that all the development had been “wiped out”.

Cyclone Pam, a category-five storm struck Vanuatu at 11 am local time, packing gusts of 300km/hour speed.

The cyclone that stayed till 24 hours inflicted intense devastation on the island, flattening houses, felling tree and power lines, also severing communication lines that has made it difficult to assess the extent of damage caused.

So far, six have been confirmed killed, however there are fears that the toll may rise after possible casualties from other areas are taken into account.

According to aid agencies, this cyclone is one of the strongest to have ever hit the Pacific and more destructive that Typhoon Haiyan which attacked Philippines in 2013.

Speaking in Japan, where he was for a UN disaster conference, President Baldwin Lonsdale said, "I term it as a monster, a monster - it's a setback for the government and for the people of Vanuatu. After all the development that has taken place, all this development has been wiped out."

Speaking in an interview to the Associated Press, President Baldwin said that the cyclone had “wiped out” over 90 per cent of the houses in the capital Port Vila alone.

Citing the breakdown in communications due to the cyclone, the President said that even he had little clue about his family's safety.

"Very emotional. My heart is for the people. Everyone has that same feeling. We don't know what has happened to our families. Because there is a breakdown in communications we cannot reach our families. We do not know if our families are safe or not. As the leader of the nation, my whole heart is for the people, the nation,” he told the AP.

Meanwhile, Oxfam Australia says over 100, 000 homes have been displaced by the cyclone.

A state of emergency has been declared in Vanuatu, which has a population of 267,000 people spread over 65 islands. And aid has started pouring in from neighbours like New Zealand, Australia, France, Britain and the European Union.

Meanwhile, Vanuatu Red Cross will be distributing three plane loads of emergency relief supplies from Australia, sent by DFAT today.

 

“Emergency relief supplies inclUDING tarpaulins, toolkits, blankets, water purification tablets, other supplies for 10,000 families” has been rushed to the cyclone-hit nation, Australian Red Cross tweeted.

 

 

Oxfam Australia added that there was an acute need of clean water, sanitation & hygiene, which if not met , could lead to waterborne diseases.