Vanuatu: Severe Tropical Cyclone Pam Situation Report No. 2 (as of 16 March 2015)

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 16 Mar 2015

Highlights

  • Aerial assessments have been carried out by military aircraft from New Caledonia, Australia and New Zealand.

  • Despite reports of severe and widespread damage, Shefa remains the only province declared to be in a state of emergency at this stage.

  • The National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) has confirmed 11 fatalities in Tafea and Shefa Province, including five from Tanna Island.

  • 3,300 people are sheltering in 37 evacuation centres in Torba and Penama Provinces, and the main island of Efate.

  • Radio and telephone communication with outer islands is yet to be established.

  • Commercial aircraft have resumed flights to Port Vila despite damage to the airport.

  • The UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination team arrived in Port Vila today, with three personnel from OCHA’s Regional Office for the Pacific, to support the coordination of incoming humanitarian assistance.

11 Confirmed fatalities
3,300 People displaced
37 Evacuation centres

Situation Overview

Tropical Cyclone Pam is slowly weakening as it travels towards New Zealand and poses no further threat to Vanuatu or the South Pacific. Aerial assessments were conducted today by military aircraft from New Caledonia, Australia and New Zealand finding severe and widespread damage. Shefa, Tafea, Malampa and Penama are emerging as the worst impacted areas, although Shefa remains the only province declared an emergency.

The National Disaster Management Office has confirmed 11 fatalities in Tafea and Shefa Province, including 5 in Tanna Island. There are 3,300 people sheltering in 37 evacuation centres (ECs) in Torba (pop. 9,400) and Penama (pop. 31,000) Provinces, and the main island of Efate (pop. 65,000). However, the Protection Cluster, which was a part of EC assessment teams, found figures to be inaccurate due to inconsistent registration processes across ECs. Basic emergency rations are being provided to evacuees, including water, rice, tinned fish or meat, coffee, tea, sugar, Milo, biscuits and other items.

On 15 March, Vanuatu's President appealed for international support to the nation’s “unprecedented damages”. The Vanuatu Humanitarian Team (VHT) are continuing to support the Government-led response and have agreed on four key priorities: evacuation centres, assessments, relief distribution and shelter. Evacuation centre management is key need, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has activated surge support in Camp Coordination and Camp Management.

Radio and telephone communication with outer islands is yet to be reestablished, with response efforts focusing on Port Vila and accessible areas of Efate. Damage to infrastructure is limiting access to affected populations and hampering movement, however commercial flights have resumed to Port Vila. Access to water and electricity is rapidly being restored in Port Vila, with an estimated 80 per cent of power lines damaged or down. A curfew is in place from 7.00pm each evening.

The UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team arrived in Port Vila today, with three personnel from OCHA’s Regional Office for the Pacific, to support the coordination of incoming humanitarian assistance. NetHope is currently working with the Emergency Telecommunication Cluster (ETC) on assessing the information and communication technology (ICT) needs of the response community. A coordinator and technical specialist has deployed to conduct assessments with partners and coordinate the inter-agency ICT response. Five Telecoms Sans Frontieres (TSF) responders are enroute to support UNDAC and the NDMO to provide basic satellite communications services to humanitarians. The World Food Programme (WFP) is sending 16 generators to support power requirements.

The weather in Vanuatu is clear and calm. TC Nathan is located off the north-east coast of Queensland, Australia, and is currently a category 2 system. The system is forecast to strengthen to category 3, although it will not affect Vanuatu. Later in the week, heavy swells are likely to impact Tuvalu, Wallis and Futuna, Samoa, and atolls of Tokelau and the northern Cook Islands

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.