Cyclone Pam struck the South Pacific archipelago on Saturday, causing catastrophic devastation. Countries around the world have been offering aid to Vanuatu, trying to help the population deal with the worst natural disaster the region has ever seen.
The current death toll stands at 8, with 20 injured, but these are only the confirmed deaths in Vanuatu itself. Information from beyond the capital, as well as the other islands, is virtually non-existent at this time. It is hard for emergency services to reach the more rural areas, as routes out of the capital are all blocked and the bridges have been torn down. Reports from aid agencies state that 90% of homes have been destroyed leaving many people with nowhere to go, and even the schools have been completely torn down.
Australia has contributed a $5 million relief package, and Julie Bishop, the foreign minister, has said that up to 5000 people will be helped with food, water and shelter. New Zealand had pledged a sum of $1 million on Saturday, and they have now contributed NZ$1.5 million more. France has also offered to help, deploying a navy frigate from New Caledonia, packed with relief supplies. Military aircrafts from Australia and New Zealand have also now landed in the capital’s airport, which should also help with the relief efforts, as well as to assess the overall damage. Air Vanuatu plans to resume a few flights between Australia and Port Villa on Monday, which will help to bring in additional assistance, plus food and relief supplies.