Cyclone Pam Flattens South Pacific Nation of Vanuatu

Cyclone Pam Flattens South Pacific Nation of Vanuatu

Cyclone Pam whipped through the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu over the weekend.

Reports vary on how many people were killed, but hundreds were injured.

According to President Baldwin Lonsdale, the cyclone destroyed or damaged about 90 percent of the buildings in the capital of Port Vila.

“This is a very devastating cyclone,” Vanuatu President Baldwin Lonsdale told news outlets. “I term it as a monster, a monster. It’s a setback for the government and for the people of Vanuatu. After all the development that has taken place, all this development has been wiped out.”

An emergency response team from Samaritan’s Purse has responded and sent a multinational team of disaster response experts to the island chain. 

More than 70 tons of supplies are also on the way.

“What we’re seeing is what you’d see after a major disaster,” said Patrick Seger, leader of the response. “Food crops have been destroyed, fruit trees have been stripped off, pigs and chickens were swept away. They’re saying people will be without food for months.”

UNICEF spokeswoman Alice Clements said much of the city’s water city is tainted.

Cyclone Pam was a category 5 storm and the strongest to reach landfall since Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines in 2013.

Vanuatu has a population of 267,000 people and about 47,000 people live in the capital.

For photos of the devastation, visit here.

Publication date: March 16, 2015