Aaron Packard Aaron Packard, March 14, 2015

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Overnight in the capital of Vanuatu, Port Vila, Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Pam, one of the strongest storms seen in the South Pacific in years, continues to leave a trail of mass destruction. We received this update from the 350 Vanuatu team, who have been up all night helping locals during the storm. 350 Vanuatu coordinator, Isso Nihmei writes:

“It is now 04:00am in the morning and Tropical cyclone PAM issued warning number 33 for TORBA, SANMA, PENAMA, MALAMPA, SHEFA and TAFEA. Severe tropical cyclone PAM was located at 18.5 degrees south, 168.9 degrees east. This is about 25KM north northwest of Erromango and 115KM south southeast of Efate where the Capital Port Vila is situated. Severe tropical cyclone PAM move in a south direction at 23 KM/HR in the past 3 hours.PAM is position at the left centre of square letter H, number 8 (H,8) of the Vanuatu Tropical cyclone Tracking Map.
Pam prep in Vanuatu

Very destructive hurricane force winds of 250KM/HR is affecting SHEFA and TAFEA province. Here in Port Vila (capital), we have experience destructive winds and heavy rains. Flying objects from place to place. Outside the Meteorology office while trying to stay awake/ alert assisting the National Disaster Management office officers with the operations during the cyclone we have witnessed falling objects from the office roof and piles of water running through doors and windows in the office. This is the first time most of us have experienced a category 5 system hit our country, and we know there’s huge impact in the islands and even Port Vila.

Our team has an update meeting with the Director General, Jotham Napat from the Ministry of Climate Change who acknowledged the work of all NDMO staff for the evacuation, but still there is a lot to be done after the cyclone.

I never seen this in my entire life and I know it was a shock to most people in my country. This is the most dangerous storm I have ever experienced, and I can even feel how severe it is on the outside, from inside the Meteorology building.

The National Management office can’t stop receiving calls every second and continues to disseminate warnings to people. At the very start, all communications from all provinces broke down and even our local radio station had to shut down. This has never happened before.

We are now preparing rations for distribution to all 23 evacuation centres, to an estimated 2,000 people in the evacuation centre in Port Vila. To those who are thinking of us in their prayers and following Tropical Cyclone PAM, we take this moment to acknowledge your presence with us. We know it is very hard to keep our emotions and feelings with people who mean a lot to you, but we have to be strong and fight hard. This is our time to face it and we must all try to be safe.

Once again, thank you all for your prayers and thoughts for our people in the republic of Vanuatu.”

350 Vanuatu team
Clearing debris
Dashing across rain

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