The past weeks in the islands of the South Pacific have not been the normal sunny days with amazing beaches. It has been one of devastating destruction. A Cyclone, otherwise known as a hurricane has swept through the South Pacific islands with winds up to 168 mph did not leave much left in its path.
Cyclone Pam reached its height of destruction of the 65 islands that make up Vanuatu, Saturday March 14. Six confirmed dead, 30 injured, and over 90 percent of the buildings either damaged or destroyed.
Vanuatu’s president Baldwin Lonsdale said “This is a very devastating cyclone in Vanuatu. I term it as a monster. It’s a setback for the government and for the people of Vanuatu.”
The full magnitude of the cyclone is still not determined as communications have been knocked out, and many bridges have been destroyed making it hard to travel around the islands. Every plane and helicopter available, including those from New Zealand and Australia have been flying over the outer islands to try to determine what damage has been done.
Paolo Malatu, the Vanautu coordinator for National Disaster Management said “The priority at the moment is to get people water, food, and shelter.” The Port Vila airport has been reopened allowing flights to bring aid and relief supplies into the country. Also allowing tourists who were in Vanuatu on vacation to return home.
The islands are littered with smashed boats in the harbors, remains of houses spread all over, roads have been washed away, and trees that have been blown over. Many residents of Vanuatu have been helping those they can, along with clean-up efforts.
The storm continues to rage in the South Pacific, after hitting the islands in Kiribati, Vanuatu, and the Solomon Islands, it has now been causing flooding along the east coast of the north island of New Zealand where even some have been evacuated from their homes. The storm had weakened by Monday as it come up to New Zealand allowing some relief to those of the South Pacific, knowing the storm is over, and allowing them to focus their efforts on the places impacted the most.