Vanuatu urgently needs food and relief supplies, officials said, days after Cyclone Pam caused massive damage across the Pacific nation. Houses, schools and crops have been destroyed by the storm, which hit the islands as a category five. So far 24 people are reported dead but this could rise. There are islands south of the capital where the situation is not yet known.
Those who have flown over the islands report widespread devastation. Across the nation, many people have lost their homes or face extensive rebuilding. Telecommunications, power and water supplies have all been badly affected. “We urgently need water purification tablets to make sure that the water is safe to drink,” Alice Clements of Unicef told the BBC.
“We urgently need food for communities whose crops have been absolutely destroyed and will take up to three months to grow. We absolutely need shelter.” Benjamin Shing, of President Baldwin Lonsdale’s office, echoed her comments. “We are relying on the fact that the food crops and the gardens are still edible and they can be used for the first week but after [that] we’ll need to get some rations on the ground,” he told Australian media.