A massive category 5 cyclone bringing with it 168 mph winds tore through the tiny south Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu on Saturday. Vanuatu, which is located about a quarter of the way from Australia to Hawaii has a population of 267,000 spread over 65 islands, and about 47,000 live in the capital, Port Villa. The cyclone, which hit the Islands on March 14, 2015, killed a confirmed number of 8 people. The death told is expected to rise as more deaths are confirmed. Because of communication being down it is still unconfirmed how much damages the surrounding outer islands suffered. But Chloe Morrison, a World Vision emergency communications officer in Port Villa say that it is estimated that entire villages were destroyed in the cyclone. Because communication is still down it is hard to access the damage. UN Secretary General Ban Kimoon expressed hope that “the loss of life will be minimal” yet admitted he feared the damage and destruction could be widespread. The president of Vanuatu, Baldwin Lonsdale, attended the UN conference and announced to those there, “I stand to appeal on behalf of the government and the people to give a helping hand in this disaster.” On Saturday, New Zealand pledged $734,000 to help with relief efforts and Australia was preparing to send a critical response team if necessary, according to Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.
Associated Press. “Cyclone Kills at least 8 in Pacific Nation of Vanuatu” Richmond Times Dispatch. (Richmond) 15 March 2015: Print.