Tropical Typhoon Pam Pounds Vanuatu

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Local residents in Port Vila, Vanuatu, stocking up on emergency supplies as Tropical Cyclone Pam approaches. Photo: UNICEF Pacific
Local residents in Port Vila, Vanuatu, stocking up on emergency supplies as Tropical Cyclone Pam approaches. Photo: UNICEF Pacific

Typhoon Fourth Most Powerful Storm to Make Landfall

NEW YORK – Typhoon Pam has made landfall in the south Pacific Island of Vanautu.

The power of a major typhoon is greater than man’s best efforts. Vanuatu is a low-lying island that has just gone through landfall from Typhoon Pam, the fourth most powerful storm to make landfall.

The Government of Vanautu website is currently down. That speaks to the level of devastation to the infrastructure caused by the Typhoon.

Save the Children’s Vanuatu Country Director Tom Skirrow leading the aid agency’s response said, “The scene here this morning is complete devastation – houses are destroyed, trees are down, roads are blocked and people are wandering the streets looking for help.” Communications are down across much of the country with the total extent of the devastation unlikely to be known for several days. Aid agencies are facing a massive challenge to reach the most vulnerable children and families as quickly as possible.

Local residents in Port Vila, Vanuatu, stocking up on emergency supplies as Tropical Cyclone Pam approaches. Photo: UNICEF Pacific
Local residents in Port Vila, Vanuatu, stocking up on emergency supplies as Tropical Cyclone Pam approaches. Photo: UNICEF Pacific
As the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu braced for Tropical Cyclone Pam, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) announced Friday that it is standing by to assist the Government.

Currently, Cyclone Pam is category 5 – the highest category – meaning that wind speeds exceeded 249 km/hr, according to the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The agency’s regional meteorological centre in Fiji is monitoring the cyclone, which is expected to result in major flooding and landslides.

“We are committed to helping children and families as they prepare for one of the most severe cyclones,” said UNICEF’s Deputy Representative in the Pacific, Isabelle Austin.

“UNICEF is also supporting a holistic approach to the emergency preparedness and response by ensuring that support is provided to nutrition, health, education and protection clusters,” she added in a news release.

UNICEF is working with a number of actors, including the Ministry of Health, Rural Water Supply, Vanuatu Red Cross, French Red Cross, and the World Health Organization (WHO) to coordinate water, sanitation and hygiene activities.

The Government of Vanuatu has in place well organized preparations and plans, and has convened committed humanitarian partners for the preparedness and response phase, including UNICEF, according to the news release.

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