President Lonsdale farewelled on streets of Port Vila—and around the world

Throngs of mourners turn out on Port Vila's main street to farewell President Baldwin Lonsdale. Photo: Vanuatu Daily Post

Throngs of mourners turn out on Port Vila’s main street to farewell President Baldwin Lonsdale. Photo: Vanuatu Daily Post

Motlap chiefs from President Lonsdale's home island of Motalava pay their respects to his casket. Photo: Holy Bule/Facebook

Motlap chiefs from President Lonsdale’s home island of Motalava pay their respects to his casket. Photo: Holy Bule/Facebook

President Lonsdale's casket is carried by Vanuatu Mobile Force members to a plane for his final journey home to Motalava. Photo: Twitter/@raetlomi

President Lonsdale’s casket is carried by Vanuatu Mobile Force members to a plane for his final journey home to Motalava. Photo: Twitter/@raetlomi

The Heads of States of Australia, Fiji and New Zealand came in person to farewell President Lonsdale. The passing of Vanuatu’s Head of State has also been marked around the world over the last few days. Here’s just a few examples:

In Sydney, Australia:

In Perth, Australia: Read the rest of this entry »


President Baldwin Lonsdale’s enormous contributions remembered following his death

President Baldwin Lonsdale. Photo: supplied

President Baldwin Lonsdale in 2016. Photo: supplied

President Baldwin Lonsdale died at Vila Central Hospital early this morning after being rushed to hospital last night.

President Lonsdale has been Head of State since September 2014. From Mota Lava island, Lonsdale was previously an Anglican priest, Secretary-General of Torba Province.

President Lonsdale played a critical role in recent events in Vanuatu. While Read the rest of this entry »


Cyclone Donna turns to southeast; future path and intensity unclear

A school on Vanua Lava damaged by Cyclone Donna. Photo: Joshua Bule/Facebook

A school on Vanua Lava damaged by Cyclone Donna. Photo: Joshua Bule/Facebook

As of the latest cyclone warning #16 from the Vanuatu Meteorology Dept, at 3pm today Category 3 Tropical Cyclone Donna was about 80km NNW of the Torres Islands and 215km NW of Gaua, moving slowly in a southeast direction at 5km/h. Central pressure is 954 hPa. Winds at the centre were estimated to be 145km/h gusting to 205km/h. Schools have been told to close in the northern provinces. The image above shows damage from Cyclone Donna to a school on Vanua Lava.

Most meteorological forecast models predict Cyclone Donna will take a path away from Vanuatu’s islands and will weaken over the next three days as it heads southeast. However, this cyclone is very slow moving and could change direction and intensity at any time, so please prepare for the worst. This is still a very dangerous cyclone, and it will bring destructive storm surges, flooding and heavy rain even if it doesn’t make landfall. We’ll keep you updated here. Read the rest of this entry »


[Updated] Arrival of Severe Tropical Cyclone Donna imminent: Torba province now on Red Alert

Latest composite satellite image of Cyclone Donna from Japan Meteorological Agency/US NOAA

Latest composite satellite image of Cyclone Donna from Japan Meteorological Agency/US NOAA

[Updated 9:30pm 4/5] Severe Tropical Cyclone Donna (Category 3) is currently 170km NE of the Torres Islands, 175km N of Vanua Lava and tracking WNW at 12km/h. It is predicted to make first landfall in northern Vanuatu as a Category 3 system tomorrow morning, May 5.

A Red Alert has been issued for Torba Province by the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department. A Yellow Alert is current for Sanma and Penama provinces and a Blue Alert for Malampa province. Flash flooding and phenomenal seas with waves over 10m are expected in Vanuatu waters as Cyclone Donna approaches. Wind speeds in a Category 3 cyclone range between 165 and 224km/h.

The GFS model forecast suggests that Cyclone Donna may make a sharp turn southward within 24-48hrs towards Vanuatu’s central and southern islands, following Vanuatu’s ‘cyclone alley’ — although this could change.

Cyclone Donna is the second tropical cyclone to form in Vanuatu the space of a month, following Cyclone Cook in early April. Vanuatu’s official cyclone season ended on April 30.

We urge our readers to start preparing well ahead of the cyclone’s arrival, and keep visiting Vanuatu Digest for updates.

Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department has a new website just in time for Cyclone Donna, and VMGD’s cyclone warnings can be found on this page, the cyclone tracking map here, or you can listen to Radio Vanuatu’s frequent updates.

The latest cyclone warning (#10) from VMDG is as follows: Read the rest of this entry »


Cyclone Cook at Category 2 and intensifying; currently west of Efate

Image: Japan Meteorological Agency/NOAA

As predicted, a tropical cyclone – named Cook — formed overnight and is currently positioned just to the north-west of Efate. It has now intensified to a Category 2 storm, and is slowing down, with destructive storm force winds of 95km/h, gusting to 130km/h hitting Efate and islands in the rest of Shefa and Malampa provinces. Gale force winds will continue to affect Sanma, Penama provinces, then later on today, Tafea province too.

Because the cyclone is both intensifying and slowing, residents are advised to take shelter and stay indoors until further notice, as the wind speed may pick up significantly. Flash flooding and power outages have been reported on Efate.


Two years on from Cyclone Pam, local band DropVkal Family sends musical message – climate change is ‘Dangerous’

Vanuatu band DropVkal Family is known for its incisive social messages as much as it is for its hard-edged roots-rock-reggae fusion sound – and their latest track, ‘Dangerous’, released to mark the second anniversary of Cyclone Pam, is no exception.

The band’s musical vision is to promote vernacular languages and give an alternative to the mainstream reggae sound popular in Vanuatu. They perform regularly at bars and restaurants around Port Vila, playing Saturday nights at the Saloon Bar, and Sunday afternoons at the Beach Bar at Mele. They are also available to play special events.

“We’re a group of friends from different islands of Vanuatu that have come together because of our love of music, and our interest in contributing to the development of Vanuatu and its special local culture”, says Read the rest of this entry »


Giving our children sustainable futures through multilingual education: Vanuatu’s UN Ambassador speaks on International Mother Languages Day

Odo Tevi, Vanuatu's Ambassador to the United Nations

Odo Tevi, Vanuatu’s Ambassador to the United Nations

Speech by Odo Tevi, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Vanuatu to the United Nations, New York, in Commemoration of the International Mother Language Day, 21st February 2017

I have the honour to provide remarks this evening on the important theme: “Towards Sustainable Futures through Multilingual Education”. This topic is timely given that we are celebrating the ‘International Mother Language Day’ today.

This is also important as we are embarking on Read the rest of this entry »