• The most powerful cyclone the South Pacific has seen in over a decade, Cyclone Pam has affected over half of Vanuatu’s population of 268 000, and threatens to overwhelm the country’s already fragile health system.
• The WHO is working closely with the Ministry of Health of Vanuatu, international partners and aid organizations to assess damage and coordinate response efforts.
• This category 5 cyclone has caused widespread, severe damage and loss of life through the country, particularly in the central and southern regions, which experienced the brunt of the storm.
• The Government of Vanuatu has declared a state of emergency and requested help from the international community.
• The full health impact of Cyclone Pam is not yet clear as communications systems are still unreliable and access to other areas remains largely blocked.
• Medical personnel, emergency responders, search and rescue staff and supplies have arrived from neighbouring countries over the last two day.
• A comprehensive health needs assessment is underway that will allow the WHO to work with Ministry of Health to guide the deployment of health and emergency resources in order to provide care where it is needed most.