Hundreds displaced as Vanuatu braces for second cyclone in two days

More than 400 people remain in shelters in Vanuatu as Cyclone Kevin made landfall on the Pacific island nation just two days after the massive cyclone that caused the earthquake.

The Fiji Meteorological Service said tropical storm Kevin arrived in Vanuatu on Friday, bringing torrential rains of up to 230 kilometers (143 miles) per hour and gusty winds.

The cyclone intensified to Category 5 in the open ocean southeast of Vanuatu on Saturday, with severe weather expected to affect the Fiji Group, according to the Meteorological Agency.

“It is located far west of Fiji and is gradually moving southeast. [tropical cyclone] Kevin plans to follow the group south tonight and tomorrow while remaining on the high seas. ” Said.

It was just two days after Category 4 Cyclone Judy hit the Pacific island nation. Back-to-back cyclones triggered a magnitude 6.6 earthquake in Vanuatu on Friday, according to the US Geological Survey.

The government declared a state of emergency on Friday, urging people whose homes were damaged to stay in shelters.

“People who lost their homes or belongings were advised to stay in the shelter until it was safe to return,” said Shefa State Government Disaster Officer Eddie Marilu. Said Reporter.

According to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), hundreds of thousands of people in Vanuatu are estimated to have been affected by two massive cyclones that hit the island nation within 24 hours.

The IFRC said most roads were damaged, hindering access to affected communities, and downed power lines caused power outages and made it difficult to communicate with remote communities. says there is.

“The impact of both these cyclones will be felt for a long time as people slowly begin to pick up the debris and rebuild their lives,” said Dickinson Tebi, Executive Director of the Vanuatu Red Cross Society. statement.

Australia announced on Friday that it would send a 12-person assessment team to Vanuatu, along with emergency supplies such as shelters and water purification equipment.

The Royal Australian Air Force also assists with air damage assessments.

“The Australian Defense Force, as part of a whole-of-government effort, is working closely with the Pacific Family to provide the best possible assistance to the people of Ni-Vanuatu,” Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said Friday. said to

UNICEF Pacific said it is closely monitoring the situation and will work with the Vanuatu government and partners to address the urgent needs of affected families. The United Nations agency said it would send emergency supplies from Fiji to Vanuatu to support disaster relief.

UNICEF Pacific Said on Twitter.

Reuters contributed to this report.