THE remote and widely spread island nation of Vanuatu is beginning to assess the damage from Cyclone ‘Pam,’ a huge storm that hit the island group on Saturday. Winds up to three hundred km per hour have caused what Vanuatu Island President Baldwin Londsdale termed ‘a monster.’ The President went on to say that “it was a setback for the government and people of Vanuatu and all the development that has taken place has been wiped out.”
The island nation is one of the world’s poorest and least developed island groups and may have considerable difficulty recovering from what has been one the worst natural disasters to affect the country for years. Buildings and infrastructure have been destroyed across the country and many areas are without any electricity. A least eight people are known to have been killed, but this number is expected to rise as the scale of the devastation is understood. Some remote islands are still out of contact, but an international aid effort led by Australia is beginning.