Vanuatu - Tropical Cyclones OCHA Situation Report No. 1

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 03 Apr 1998
OCHAGVA - 98/0181

1. From 21 - 23 March 1998, a tropical depression, which later developed into Tropical Cyclone Yali, made its passage over waters around the Vanuatu group of islands on a south easterly direction. Although the cyclone did not make landfall, it caused heavy rainfall and flooding throughout all the islands and affected settlements in low lying areas and near river banks.

2. Aerial assessment has shown that in West and SSE of Erromango the strong winds affected the overall vegetation and caused some damage to local buildings and destroyed banana plantations and manioc. In North and West Tanna, banana, vegetables and manioc, as well as fruit trees were completely destroyed and, in the atoll island of Aniwa, minor damage to houses and agriculture has been recorded.

3. On 2 April 1998, Tropical Cyclone Zuman hit Vanuatu's biggest island, Espiritu Santo, causing severe flooding on the east coast. On East Santo, the village of Port Olry has received significant damage to houses and possibly crops. Some casualties have been evacuated to the Northern Hospital to receive medical treatment. The number and seriousness of the cases is not known. Small outboard motor-boats are being washed away by coastal flooding. The main church building is partly damaged.

4. Tropical Cyclone Zuman triggered also heavy flooding in South Santo which led to damage to the main bridge. Some casualties were also reported. Major damage to local buildings is now a concern. Road accessibility is still a problem.

National Response

5. In response to TC Yali, several evacuation centres were opened on the mainland to cater for those who had left their homes as a consequence of flooding. The police and volunteer groups were involved in the evacuation of the people but the exact number of evacuees is yet to be determined. The Government has sought support from the local Red Cross and other relief groups in addressing the plight of the evacuees and others who may be in similar predicament.

6. All responding National Government agencies are in the process of collecting information about the extent of the damage caused by TC Zuman.

International Response

7. OCHA Geneva is monitoring the situation through the United Nations Resident Coordinator and the South Pacific Programme Office in Suva, Fiji, who are in close contact with the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) in Vanuatu.

8. For coordination purposes, donors are kindly requested to inform OCHA Geneva as indicated below, of relief missions/pledges/contributions and their corresponding value by item.

9. This situation report and further information on ongoing emergencies are also available on the OCHA Internet Website at: http:\\

Telephone number: + 41-22-917 12 34
In case of emergency: Tel. + 41-22-917 20 10
Desk Officers: Ms. S. Metzner-Strack/Mr. R. Mueller, OCHA Disaster Response Branch, direct Tel. + 41-22-917 21 44/31 31
Press to contact: Ms. E. Ponomareva, Tel. +41-22-9172336
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Fax: + 41-22-917 00 23
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