Port Vila, Mar 16: Twenty-four people have been killed in Vanuatu by Cyclone Pam which tore through the Pacific nation packing winds of up to 320 kilometres, the UN said Tuesday.
"There are 24 confirmed fatalities, 11 from Tafea, eight from Efate and five from Tanna," the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a situation report. The storm hit the archipelago on Friday night, damaging up to 90 per cent of homes in the capital, with aid agencies warning that conditions were among the most challenging they have faced.
"Despite reports of severe and widespread damage, Shefa remains the only province declared an emergency at this stage," said OCHA, referring to the region that includes Port Vila.
More than three thousand people were in 37 evacuation centres, and aerial assessments have been conducted by military planes from New Caledonia, Australia and New Zealand. "Radio and telephone communications with outer islands is yet to be established," said OCHA. The highest number of fatalities was in Tafea, which is the country's most southernmost province.