FEBRUARY 12, 2018 will undoubtedly recalls a frightening and dangerous day for the people of Ono-i-Lau in Fiji’s southern Lau Islands.
The damaging winds of Cyclone Gita battered through Ono-i-Lau and Vatoa, leaving 12 families homeless and 30 families with partially damaged houses.
All four villages on Ono-i-Lau-Nukuni, Lovoni, Matokana and Doi-started experiencing heavy rain accompanied by destructive wind and stormy seas on that February morning. The cyclone hadwreaked havoc in the island kingdom of Tonga thee day before, with winds hitting 230km per hour, uprooting trees and destroying buildings.
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By Netani Rika
VILLAGERS on Vanuatu’s outer islands have been warned to expect damaging winds of up to 205kmph as Tropical Cyclone Hola heads south towards New Caledonia.
There are no reports of major damage at this stage.
Philip Meto from the National Disaster Management Office told Radio Australia they had received reports that some buildings had been damaged and trees brought down.
The Category Three system passed through central Vanuatu overnight before taking a more southerly track towards neighbouring New Caledonia.
It is expected to intensify and move closer to New Zealand over the next 48 hours.
TC Hola is moving at 11kmph and has winds of over 100kmph at its centre. Meteorologists say wind speeds will intensify.
Tropical Cyclone Warning Number 11 issued by the Vanuatu Meteorology Department, Port Vila at 9:27am VUT Thursday 8 March 2018 for MALAMPA and SHEFA provinces.
At 8am local time today, Severe Tropical Cyclone HOLA [954hPa] Category 3 was located at 17.0 degrees South 165.8 degrees East. This is about 195 KM west southwest of Malekula and 280 KM west northwest of Efate.
In the past 3 hours, Severe Tropical Cyclone HOLA was moving in a west southwest direction at 11 KM/HR (6 knots).
Sustained winds close to the centre are estimated at 150 KM/HR (80 knots).
South 165.3 degrees East within the next 06 hours.
Damaging gale force winds of 75 KM/HR (40 knots) are expected to continue to affect SANMA, PENAMA and TAFEA provinces today.
Destructive storm force winds of 110KM/HR (60 Knots), gusting to 160 KM/HR (85 Knots) are expected to continue to affect MALAMPA and SHEFA provinces today and in the next 12 to 24 hours.
Very destructive hurricane force winds of 145 KM/HR (85 knots), gusting to 205KM/HR (110 knots) are expected over Malekula, Epi, Shepherds and parts of Efate.
RELIEF assistance poured in to help resettled hundreds of displaced people at a care centre after evacuation from their island homes following the unprecedented eruption of a dormant volcano off the northern coast of Papua New Guinea (PNG) in January. Swift action by the Papua New Guinea Defence Force, East Sepik provincial government and administration enabled the evacuation and relocation of the 691 islanders to the mainland.
The volcano on the island of Kadovar, located about 24 km (15 miles) north of the PNG mainland, began erupting on 5 January. After venting ash for several days, the volcano exploded, blasting out glowing red rocks and sulphur dioxide, the Rabaul Volcanological Observatory said in a bulletin. Kadovar is one of the three Schouten volcanic islands with the other two being Ruprup and Biem in East Sepik province. On 22 January, it was reported that Biem and Ruprup have subsided and remained stable while five volcanic vents had opened up on Kadovar and activities were expected to escalate on the island.
REBUILDING Vanuatu will take most of the rest of 2015 and the cycloneravaged country needs thousands more shelter kits.
That is one of the major assessments of disaster management experts among the 34 aid organisations that are or were in Vanuatu and these experts described it is as a mammoth task with substantially more aid supplies urgently needed.
Tents and tarpaulins remain in short supply with a revised figure of 188,000 people without adequate shelter and housing.
Vanuatu Prime Minister Joe Natuman said the government would provide for the people for at least the next three months.
Natuman said he hoped that the World Food Program would come on board and repeated that food and shelter were the top priorities.
The government revised its figure of 166,000 people affected by Pam up to 188,000 and admitted that the National Disaster Management office faced a huge logistical challenge to get relief supplies to these people.
The chairman of the National Disaster Committee, Jotham Napat, welcomed what he described as the tremendous efforts of the private sector, volunteers and international partners in supplying the roll out of relief supplies to the most affected communities around the country. “
“There has been some transport and logistic issues that have delayed the onward distribution of supplies in some islands and we are working with provincial authorities to sort these out,’’ he said.
by Tony Wilson
IT was like having a massive jet engine sitting beside your head – roaring incessantly like a maniac, hour after hour after hour.As my wife and I wielded mops through much of the night of Friday, March 13 and into Saturday morning, like thousands of other Vanuatu residents in a forlorn attempt to stem the flooding of our house, the same desperate message kept pulsating through our minds.When is it going to stop?
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