SUVA, Fiji: A terrifying tropical cyclone which smashed into Vanuatu in the South Pacific left “complete devastation,” with fears on Saturday that dozens may have died in what may be one of the region’s worst weather disasters.
The full extent of the damage is unknown, with limited communications in place after Super Cyclone Pam, a maximum category five storm, slammed directly into the island country late Friday (Saturday in Manila) with gusts up to 320 kilometers an hour.
The UN had unconfirmed reports of 44 people killed in one province.
“While it is too early to say for certain, early reports are indicating that this weather disaster could potentially be one of the worst in Pacific history,” Unicef New Zealand’s executive director Vivien Maidaborn said in a statement.
“The sheer force of the storm combined with communities just not set up to withstand it, could have devastating results for thousands across the region.”
Residents of the capital Port Vila spent the night bunkering down as the terrifying storm raged, waking to find trees had been uprooted, homes destroyed and areas flooded.