This is the second OCHA Flash Update on Severe Tropical Cyclone (TC) Pam (Category 5).
The eye of TC Pam has moved westward of the expected track. This has placed several islands of the Vanuatu archipelago directly in the path of the very destructive eye region of this cyclone. In the late afternoon of Friday 13 March, the western periphery of the eye wall was over the island of Tongoa (population 2,300) at the eastern end of Epi island (population 5,207). TC Pam is near peak intensity with winds in the eye region averaging 130 to 140 knots (250 to 270 kmph) with gusts up to 180 knots (340 kmph). This is an extremely destructive cyclone and those in its path will be in great danger. The expectation is that the western edge of the eye will pass over or extremely close to the eastern side of Efate (where the capital Port Vila is located) between 10.00 p.m. and midnight local time in Vanuatu on 13 March.
There are no official reports of deaths or injuries, however there is an unconfirmed report that 44 people have died in Penama Province. The population that already may have been hit hard is potentially those living on the islands of Maewo (population 3,569), Ambae (population 10,407) and Pentecost (population 16,843). TC Pam is now heading for the most populated island of Efate (population 65,734 – Port Vila has a population of 44,000) and other smaller islands to Efate’s north. The southern islands (total population 32,540) are also likely to be directly hit.
The Pacific Humanitarian Team is preparing to support the government-led response to the cyclone, and continues to preposition staff and stocks both in country and within the region.
Further updates will be provided once more information becomes available.
For further information, please contact: Karina Coates, Public Information Officer OCHA Regional Office for the Pacific, email@example.com, +679 777 1433
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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