Trócaire is supporting relief efforts in Vanuatu in the aftermath of what is thought to have been the worst cyclone to ever hit the country.
Cyclone Pam, a Category 5 storm, made landfall on the most populated island of Efate, where more than 65,000 people live. The cyclone had wind speeds of up to 270 km/h.
Éamonn Meehan, Trócaire Executive Director, said:
“Early indications are that this is one of the worst storms to ever hit the region. Our partners are working in the affected areas and we are working with them to get aid to people who have lost their homes.
“This is yet another reminder of the constant threat of extreme weather facing people in the Pacific region. The Philippines recently experienced its worst ever storm and now it appears as though Vanuatu has suffered a similar fate. Climate change is leading to more intense storms in the region, putting millions of people at risk.”
When the cyclone hit, Vanuatu’s President Baldwin Lonsdale was attending the Third World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in Sendai, Japan, to highlight his nation’s vulnerability to natural disaster.
Also in attendance was Dejene Fikre, Trócaire’s regional humanitarian coordinator for East Africa. He said:
“In recent years the Vanuatu community has been challenged by frequent disasters because of climate change. Here in Sendai there is a shared understanding that it is the first time the world has both the knowledge and the resource to end such vulnerability to disaster.”