Pacific Scoop

13 March 2015

Pacific Scoop: Cyclone Pam bears down on Vanuatu - three other storms

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A flooded street in Port Vila today before Cyclone Pam had even hit Vanuatu. Image: UNICEF Pacific
13 March 2015

Pacific Scoop/Pacific Media Centre:
As three tropical storms and cyclones raged across the Pacific today, aid agencies have been bracing for what could become an unprecedented relief response.

The centre of the cyclone’s circulation is expected to impact Port Vila. “[It's] very bad news for Efate (population of 60,000) and the capital of Port Vila – they should at least get into the western eyewall,” said The Weather Channel meteorologist Matt Crowther.

Severe tropical cyclone Pam, tropical storm Bavi and cyclone Nathan were racing across the region with Pam expected to impact on Vanuatu. The Weather Channel reports a fourth storm in the Pacific.

“It’s very bad news for Efate (population of 60,000) and the capital of Port Vila – they should at least get into the western eyewall,” said The Weather Channel website meteorologist Matt Crowther.

Aurelia Balpe, head of delegation for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in the Pacific, said in Suva “Cyclone Pam on its own has the capacity to do immense damage – but now with Bavi and Nathan, we could be looking at one of the biggest Pacific responses in recent memory.”

So far, thousands of people in more than nine countries have been affected or are threatened by the storms.

In Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji, Red Cross emergency response teams have been activated and relief supplies are in place.

Significant damage
Assessments are also being carried out in Tuvalu and Kiribati, where associated sea swells have caused significant damage.

The situations in the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau and Papua New Guinea and Republic of the Marshall Islands are being monitored closely with the authorities.

“It’s timely that world leaders are meeting in Sendai for the World Conference on disaster risk reduction,” Balpe said.

“This current situation shows just how much the Pacific region needs investment and support for effective risk reduction measures against cyclones, perhaps more than any other place in the world.”

Radio New Zealand International reported Vanuatu was in “lockdown” in preparation for the cyclone.

MetService in Vanuatu said the outer edge of the Category 5 storm was brushing the northern part of the country, with winds of 230km an hour at its heart, said RNZI.

Cyclone Pam slammed into Solomon Islands overnight, affecting more than 3000 households, and destroying some homes.

Vanuatu evacuations – TV3/Scoop News

Scoop updates on Cyclone Pam

Severe weather expected in New Zealand

An infrared satellite map of the eye of Cyclone Pam in the Pacific today. Image: The Weather Channel

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