17 Mar 2015

Vanuatu: ‘We are going to have to rebuild everything’

The grim warning of Vanuatu President Baldwin Lonsdale in the aftermath of the devastating cyclone which hit the Pacific island last week. John Sparks reports.

The president of Vanuatu called it a “monster”. Cyclone Pam hit the Pacific island on Friday, wiping out entire villages.

In the aftermath of the disaster, aid officials said the storm was possibly unprecedented in the island’s history and could be one of the worst natural disasters the Pacific region has ever seen, hitting Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands before reaching Vanuatu late on Friday.

Latest figures put the death toll at 24, but authorities expect that number to rise, and thousands more are at risk from a lack of essential supplies.

Reporting from the island, Channel 4 News Asia Correspondent John Sparks said survivors had begun the clean-up, but a lack of fresh water and local crops meant a quick recovery was not easy. Shops, he said, are now on guard against looters.

Aid agencies, along with the Australian government, are sending in provisions and personnel. But Vanuatu President Baldwin Lonsdale, who was in Japan when the storm hit, has warned: “We are going to have to rebuild everything.”