Half of Vanuatu’s population affected by Cyclone, death toll creeps up

More than half of the South Pacific island nation Vanuatu’s population has been affected by Cyclone Pam, the UN said Saturday as the death toll rose to 16. Severe Tropical Cyclone Pam barrelled into the archipelago a week ago, bringing sustained winds of some 250 kilometres per hour which devastated entire communities. A situation report by OCHA said food stocks and water reserves are being exhausted and will not last more than a couple of weeks across the affected islands.

Around 166,000 people, more than half of Vanuatu’s population, have been affected by Tropical Cyclone Pam on 22 islands.

Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

Aid agencies have stressed that potable water, food, shelter and health were a priority in the aftermath of the storm which hit late on March 13. Save the Children said communities on some isolated islands faced a perilous situation, with at least 2,000 children at risk of potentially deadly illnesses such as diarrhoea from drinking bad water.