Fears of destruction and flooding in Vanuatu over hurricane Pam

Listen /

Local residents in Port Vila, Vanuatu, stocking up on emergency supplies as Tropical Cyclone Pam approaches. Photo: UNICEF Pacific

A category five hurricane – the most severe – has prompted fears of more destruction when it next makes landfall in the South Pacific.

Hurricane Pam is heading for Vanuatu, a relatively sparsely populated collection of island nations off the Australian coast.

Pam has already caused damage in Tuvalu and Kiribati and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has issued a warning that it could cause more when it hits the Vanuatu capital.

Daniel Johnson has more:

Described as a "very big hurricane" by the World Meteorological Organization, the cyclone known as Pam has been recorded with wind speeds of up to 320 kilometres per hour.

That's well above the speed used to classify a category five hurricane and the fear is that it could cause serious flash-flooding and landslides when it hits.

Here's WMO's Claire Nullis:

 "It's heading as we speak for Vanuatu…there are fears that the island of Efate, which is where the capital is, might take a direct hit."

While it's unclear exactly where the cyclone will hit, concerns are high about Pam because its pressure reading of 905 hectopascals (hPa) is close to hurricane Haiyan.

At 895hPa, Haiyan was the strongest ever to hit land according to WMO, devastating portions of south-east Asia and particularly the Philippines in November 2013.

After Vanuatu the hurricane is expected to move off on Saturday towards Fiji, though it's not thought likely to make a direct hit, the UN agency said.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations

Duration: 1'04"

Filed under Today's News.
UN Radio Daily News Programme
UN Radio Daily News Programme
Updated at 1800 GMT, Monday to Friday
Loading the player ...

CONNECT

 

October 2017
M T W T F S S
« Sep    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031