Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Food concerns mount in Vanuatu after monster cyclone

Reuters: International aid agencies ramped up appeals for cyclone-hit Vanuatu on Wednesday, warning that the powerful storm that affected more than two-thirds of the South Pacific island nation had wiped out crops and destroyed fishing fleets, raising the risk of hunger and disease.

Residents of the southern island of Tanna said food and basic supplies were running low, while relief workers were still battling to reach many islands pummeled by Cyclone Pam's gusts of more than 300 kph (185 mph) on Friday and Saturday.

The United Nations said the official death toll was 11, but many officials anticipate that number will rise once they are able to more thoroughly inspect the outer islands of the scattered archipelago.

 Sweden said on Tuesday that a Swedish man aged around 80 who had emigrated was among the dead. Sune Gudnitz, Pacific head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said getting food supplies to isolated communities was a concern. "The challenge of getting things out, whether it's people or goods, remains. We want to avoid creating a bottleneck in (Vanuatu capital) Port Vila, so we very quickly need to work out a plan for getting things out," Gudnitz said....

A post-Pam boat graveyard in Vanuatu, shot by Graham Crumb, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 3.0 Unported license

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