Govt announces list of legislation to be debated at first 2017 sitting of Parliament

Vanuatu Parliament

Parliament meets in a fortnight, on Thursday 1 June. This will be the first ordinary sitting for 2017. Nine government Bills are will be debated, including Read the rest of this entry »


Disaster relief supplies start arriving in cyclone-ravaged Torres islands

Wind and salt damaged trees on Hiu island, pictured today from a helicopter. Photo: Hon. Ralph Regenvanu MP

Wind and salt damaged trees on Hiu island, pictured from a helicopter supplying relief supplies. Photo: Hon. Ralph Regenvanu MP

The Torres islands has begun receiving disaster relief supplies following the passage of Cyclone Donna. There is an emergency operations centre now open at Loh Island coordinating distribution. Over the weekend a helicopter delivered the first necessities to all the islands and the vessel Pacific Hope is now distributing water, sanitation and health (WASH) items for improved hygiene. There have been reports of illnesses like Read the rest of this entry »


NASA analysis shows more than 624mm of rain fell on northern islands during Cyclone Donna

The video above from the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) shows rainfall during Cyclone Donna as it crossed northern Vanuatu between May 2 and May 10. Extreme rainfall exceeding 624mm is shown in purple. Aerial reconnaissance has revealed damage to villages, buildings and crops in the Torres and Banks islands from cyclonic winds, extreme rainfall and storm surges.

At last: the agreement to start the Bauerfield runway works has been signed by  Read the rest of this entry »


Vanuatu switches into recovery mode as Cyclone Donna moves away

Government building left hanging at Tagabe after Cyclone Donna flooding. Photo: Joel Ates via Facebook

Government building left hanging at Tagabe after Cyclone Donna flooding. Photo: Joel Ates via Facebook

Cyclone Donna has moved on to New Caledonia and is now weakening. The only major damage so far reported – except for garden damage – was along the length of the Forestry Department HQ at Tagabe where a deep gorge has been carved out by floodwater from Cyclone Donna overflowing the Read the rest of this entry »


Donna now Category 5 cyclone; wind gusts up to 300km/h

Severe Tropical Cyclone Donna has been upgraded to a Category 5 system. Currently, it is about offshore, 295km off Malakula, and 370km west of Efate. Its offshore trajectory means that Vanuatu’s islands will be spared the full force of the most destructive winds, which are gusting at 300km/h. However, Vanuatu Meteo is taking no chances and is warning of destructive winds up to 160km/h tonight in Sanma, Malampa and Shefa provinces. Heavy rainfall, flooding and storm surges are also likely.

No loss of life or major damage to homes or infrastructure have been reported by 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 »