Death toll, destruction rises in Vanuatu after Cyclone Pam

The United Nations reported Monday that 24 people are confirmed dead and 3,300 have been displaced by Cyclone Pam in the South Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu. Radio and telephone communications with outer islands have not yet been established two days after what the country’s president called a “monster” storm, the U.N. said. Aid agencies have warned that conditions are among the most challenging they have faced, with fears of disease rife, and the death toll is likely to rise once communications are re-established with outlying islands.

There are more than 100,000 people likely homeless, every school destroyed, full evacuation centres, damage to health facilities and the morgue.

Oxfam country director in Port Vila, Colin Collett van Rooyen

Authorities are still struggling to determine the scale of devastation from the storm, which struck the islands early on Saturday local time. UNICEF estimates that around 54,000 children are among those affected by the cyclone. Aid officials said the storm was comparable in strength to Typhoon Haiyan, which hit the Philippines in 2013 and killed more than 6,000 people. Vanuatu is among the world’s poorest countries and is vulnerable to natural disasters including earthquakes, tsunamis and storms.