Vanuatu’s President Baldwin Lonsdale has appealed for an “immediate” help after Cyclone Pam devastated the tiny country over the weekend.
Baldwin Lonsdale said Cyclone Pam, a category 5 tropical storm, had “wiped out” all development of recent years and his country would have to rebuild “everything”.
Aid has begun arriving in Vanuatu – one of the world’s poorest – but contact has still not been made with some of its more remote islands.
Aid agencies say it could be one of the worst disasters ever to hit the region.
The official death toll stands at eight, but it is expected to rise.
The sense of devastation is absolutely immense and when you land it doesn’t take long for that sense of devastation to increase.
Many family homes have been stripped of their roofs or flattened by very powerful winds and torrential rain.
The air here is very thick with smoke because the cleanup has already begun – the debris is being chopped down, collected and burned. There is a sense here that people will rebuild but it only takes a brief moment in the capital to realize that this rebuilding effort will take many months if not years.
Vanuatu is a vast archipelago in the South Pacific with its population spread over more than 60 islands.
As the country’s communications are down, it is very difficult for the authorities to have a true picture of the devastation but it’s clear the number of dead will increase when communications are made with those outlying areas.
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