On March 13, 2015 one of the worst storms hit the Republic of Vanuatu. This cyclone was one of the worst that the chain of islands has seen in all of history. The island republic is located 1,200 miles northeast of Brisbane, Australia. With only a population of 224,000, the widespread community was dramatically affected by this horrific incident.
Named “Pam” by weather officials, the storm was not to be taken lightly. According to the Weather Channel, tide levels rose 2 feet higher than their usual height. As an island, the high waters amplified the destruction of the storm, leaving entire towns flooded. In addition, winds up to 165 mph blew throughout the night and into the next day as the storm approached Vanuatu. With winds this strong, it could be considered a Category 5 wind. The Weather Channel explains that the most common destruction done by category 5 winds is “some complete building failures,small utility buildings blown over or away, severe and extensive window, door damage, complete destruction of mobile homes, all shrubs, trees, signs blown down.”
Although the chain of islands is made up of 65 inhabited islands, with numerous citizens spread across the archipelago, the death toll according to CNN was 11 people. CNN also claims that “Vanuatu's President Baldwin Lonsdale has called Cyclone Pam ‘a monster,’ saying it has set back the development of his country, already one of the poorest in the region, by years.”
As fortunate as it is that the destruction of the horrible Cyclone Pam is over, the impact that it has made on the suffering communities is one that they are just beginning to recover from.