Port Vila, March 14 At least six people were killed on Saturday after a Category 5 cyclone, one of the strongest storms seen in the South Pacific in years, hit the island of Vanuatu, threatening the lives of its 260,000 inhabitants.
Cyclone Pam hit the island’s capital city Port Vila on Friday afternoon with sustained wind speed of 270 km per hour, CNN reported.
According to eyewitnesses, in the capital Port Vila, hardly a tree stood straight due to the fierce winds and many lay toppled to the ground.
Unicef warned that 260,000 people were in the middle of the potential disaster zone. The Vanuatu National Disaster Management Office also urged residents to seek immediate shelter, according to The Independent daily.
The archipelago nation has 83 small islands, many of which have little infrastructure and lack the strong housing structures that can endure such a storm.
“Everybody is concerned about shelter, ensuring that the shelters are going to be strong enough for them,” Alice Clements of Unicef was quoted as saying.
Parts of Vanuatu are likely to see floods exceeding 16 inches, according to a forecast.
Cyclone Pam is the strongest storm to make landfall in the Pacific typhoon region since Haiyan hit Philippines in 2013, obliterating parts of Leyte.
It shattered homes and trees into match sticks, and killed more than 6,000 people.