Tuvalu ‘severely’ impacted by Cyclone Pam: Report

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Tuvalu ‘severely’ impacted by Cyclone Pam: Report

The official death toll stood at six on Sunday, although the United Nations had unconfirmed reports of 44 people killed in just one Vanuatu province.

By (AFP)

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Published: Sun 15 Mar 2015, 1:08 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 9:09 PM

Wellington — Nearly half the population of the tiny Pacific nation of Tuvalu have been severely impacted by the devastation wrought by Cyclone Pam, Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga said Sunday.

While the focus has been on its larger Pacific neighbour Vanuatu, Tuvalu, a grouping of nine coral atolls with a population of less than 11,000, is also struggling to cope, he told Radio New Zealand International.

“Forty five percent of the population of Tuvalu, most of whom are on the outer islands, have been affected, badly, severely affected,” he said of the island chain some 1,550 kilometres (960 miles) northeast of Vanuatu.

“We are worried about the aftermath in terms of hygiene and supplies of essential materials like food, medicine and water.”

Few details of the impact were given but Sopoaga said most people living on the outer islands of the former British colony had been affected, with houses and crops washed away.

He told the broadcaster there were health and safety concerns after cemeteries were destroyed and government boats would set off later Sunday to assess the extent of the damage.

Cyclone Pam smashed into impoverished Vanuatu on Friday night with a state of emergency declared as relief agencies desperately scrambled to get help amid reports entire villages were “blown away”.

The official death toll stood at six on Sunday, although the United Nations had unconfirmed reports of 44 people killed in just one Vanuatu province.

Aid groups said the scale of the disaster would not be known until reports filter in from outlying islands.

 



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