Vanuatu: Tropical Cyclone Donna - Information Bulletin No. 1


This bulletin is being issued for information only and reflects the current situation and details available at this time. The Vanuatu Red Cross Society, with the support of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is assessing the evolving situation for a potential DREF Request depending upon the track of the tropical cyclone Donna and its impact.

The situation

On 3 May 2017 (Wednesday), Fiji Meteorological services provided an early alert for a tropical disturbance (TD21F) which was forming north of Vanuatu. The tropical disturbance developed into Tropical Cyclone Donna (TC Donna), a Category 1 system, around Wednesday midnight. TC Donna had intensified further and remains as a Category 3 system in the evening of 5 May local time. It was located about 175 KM west of Torres and 300 KM west northwest of Gaua (Torba Province) in Northern Vanuatu. The system is moving southwest slowly.

TC Donna is forecasted to be tracking southward along Vanuatu’s west coast over the next 2-3 days. However, the path and the strength of TC Donna is dynamic and is still subject to change. Provinces of Torba, Sanma, Malampa and Penama are expected to have very rough seas, heavy swells and heavy rainfall and might experience flash and coastal floods. The following is a map issued by Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo Hazards Department (VGMD) that forecasted the path of TC Donna.

The Government of Vanuatu has raised the alert levels across the northern provinces, informing people to be prepared by securing their homes and valuables, keeping stock of food and water, cutting down dangerous trees, charging phones, and having torches and an evacuation kit ready. Public alerts are being issued over radio and via mass text messages sent out by Telecom Vanuatu and Digicel.

Action by the Authorities

The Vanuatu National Disaster Management Office is coordinating the response and has activated the National Emergency Operations Centre (National EOC) on a 24/7 basis. The coordination consists of all key humanitarian actors including the Joint Police Operation Centre activation for support if required.
All Vanuatu humanitarian coordination groups (‘clusters’) have been activated, and have individually met for initial preparedness briefings (Logistics, Telecommunications, Food Security, Health, Education, Shelter, and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene). Provincial Emergency Operations Centres in Torba, Penama, Sanma and Malampa have been activated and are coordinating with the National Emergency Operations Centre.

Inter-agency meetings were held on 3 and 4 May, which included a briefing to actors and partners on the current situation and the preparedness plans to ensure a coordinated effort towards the response. The NDMO indicated that in case of an emergency, the response to TC Donna will be Government led. The Government will continue to monitor the situation and review the relevance of request for international support based on the situation.

The Pacific Humanitarian Team (PHT) have activated their preparedness plan and identified staff available for possible deployments over the weekend. The PHT team have also been requested to get in contact with local partners, cluster leads and line Ministries. The PHT are also looking through the draft Country Preparedness Package for Vanuatu to ensure the preparedness levels.