Vanuatu: Back-to-back cyclones hammer island nation, recovery efforts will be immense

Vanuatu Red Cross volunteers are ready to respond in the aftermath of cyclones Judy and Kevin.

Vanuatu Red Cross volunteers are ready to respond in the aftermath of cyclones Judy and Kevin.

Photo: Vanuatu Red Cross Society

Port Vila/Suva, 4 March 2023 – Hundreds of thousands of people in Vanuatu are estimated to be affected after two massive category 4 cyclones slammed across the island nation within 24 hours. Cyclone Kevin, packing wind gusts of up to 160 km per hour, slammed across the country within hours of cyclone Judy’s exit.

Access to affected communities has been hampered as most roads have been damaged and fallen power lines have also caused power outages, making communication to remote communities difficult. Tanna island in the province of Tafea is expected to be the worst affected.

Vanuatu Red Cross Secretary General, Dickinson Tevi said:

“We are still trying to establish communication with our branch in Tanna. We still have not heard anything since cyclone Judy hit. We have pre-positioned relief items on the island ready to be distributed to affected households. Despite being cut off from the rest of the country, our trained staff and volunteers on the island will know what to do as this is what we prepare them for every year as part of our disaster preparedness trainings.”

“The impact of both these cyclones will be felt for a long time as people slowly start to pick up the pieces and rebuild their lives. The response and recovery efforts will be huge.”

Vanuatu Red Cross has been providing immediate assistance to over 300 people currently sheltered in evacuation centres with items such as blankets, hygiene kits for washing and cleaning and solar lanterns. Other items such as tarpaulins for shelter are also ready for distribution once teams are able to access affected communities.

Head of the IFRC Pacific Office, Katie Greenwood, said:

“Two back-to-back cyclones means that the immediate needs will be huge. IFRC is ready to provide support as we anticipate that the needs will be scaled up in the coming days. We are working closely with the team at Vanuatu Red Cross and preparing for the days ahead.”

“Disasters of this scale require collaboration with all relevant stakeholders so that we reach the most affected people with assistance as fast and as safely as we can.”

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:

In Suva: Soneel Ram, +679 9983 688, [email protected]

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