Cyclone a ‘setback’ for Vanuatu

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Published: Monday 16th March 2015 by The News Editor

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The Pacific island nation of Vanuatu has lost years of development progress and must “start over” following a powerful cyclone that destroyed or damaged 90% of the buildings on the main island of Port Vila, the country’s president has said.

Baldwin Lonsdale, visibly weary and red eyed from lack of sleep, said in an interview that he and other top government officials were preparing to return home from Sendai, in north-eastern Japan, where they were attending a disaster conference.

Australia, which along with New Zealand and France is providing rescue and relief help, offered transport from Sydney to Port Vila, his staff said.

Mr Lonsdale said that the limited information he was able to get from home showed six people confirmed dead on Port Vila after the category 5 typhoon smashed across the Vanuatu archipelago.

He said information from other islands was not available because most communication links were still not working. But the airport in Port Vila has reopened, allowing aid and relief flights to reach the country.

“This is a very devastating cyclone in Vanuatu. I term it as a monster, a monster. It’s a setback for the government and for the people of Vanuatu. After all the development that has taken place, all this development has been wiped out.”

Published: Monday 16th March 2015 by The News Editor

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