Just one day after being battered by Tropical Cyclone Judy, Vanuatu is bracing itself for a second cyclone which is intensifying with the possibility of developing into a category 3 system.
Tropical Cyclone Kevin will bring more destruction while the people are still cleaning-up after category 3 TC Judy. Some homes have not been rebuilt and the government is yet to assess the widespread damage.
Warnings have already been issued for strong winds, heavy rainfalls and rough swells before the occurrence of TC Kevin.
The severe weather has triggered suspension of both domestic and international flights while ships, boats and small fishing rafts are advised not to go out to sea.
Some essential services like the banks will be temporarily closed today. Disruptions to electricity and telecommunication services are possible and government workers will resume work once the situation is declared all clear.
As of Thursday night, a Red Alert has been issued for SANMA, MALAMPA and PENAMA Provinces, Yellow Alert for TORBA and SHEFA.
Originated south of Solomon Islands, TC Kevin was upgraded to category 2 Thursday. As of last night, it was positioned about 330km west of Santo and 430km west northwest of Malekula.
According to the Manager of the Weather Forecast Section, Fred Jockley, the cyclone will pass near the central and southern parts of Vanuatu.
It is likely the system will develop into a category 2 system and will further strengthen into a category 3 system, he said.
He added that the system is expected to make landfall on Tanna on Saturday.
The cyclone is expected to leave Vanuatu water by tomorrow.
According to Weather Forecast Manager Jockley, this is not the first time for them to issue warnings for two systems in Vanuatu’s area of responsibility simultaneously.
People are advised to take precautions and follow advices from the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) and the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) to keep safe.
Meanwhile, the extent of the damage from the two systems will be known once the government make a full assessment.
Based on initial reports, there is widespread damage to buildings, homes and crops in affected areas.
As a result of Tropical Cyclone (TC) Judy, over 400 people on Efate have been evacuated to four different evacuation centres: Anglican Church, Nangire Church, Vanuatu Christian Council (VCC), and Wan Smolbag (WSB).
SHEFA Provincial Disaster Officer at the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), Eddy Maliliu, said, there were only four evacuation centers that they have identified for people to move to if their homes are not safe.
“With the help of the Police Operation Center, over 400 people were moved to the evacuation centers during TC Judy,” he said.
“The Anglican Church accommodates a total of 31 people, Nangire Church holds 11 people, VCC has 34, and WSB a total of 380 people.”
Maliliu said many of the people who have been evacuated are those whose homes have been flooded and damaged.
“Therefore, people who have lost their houses and belongings were advised to stay in the evacuation centres until it is safe for them to return,” he said.
“We understand that there is another cyclone that is coming, however, people who have gone back to their houses can still come back to the evacuation centers.”
Maliliu reiterated that people need to be responsive to the warnings that NDMO has been issuing, as the cyclone is on its way.
“Thursday, people were moving into the evacuation centers during the red alert, which is not good and unsafe,” he said.
“With the cyclone that is fast approaching, people who think that their home is not safe should move quickly to a safe house or an evacuation center before the red alert,” he said.
SOURCE: VANUATU DAILY POST/PACNEWS