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.

Its Pacific cyclone season – please sign this petition and help save lifesaving shortwave radio to our islands

Animated satellite images taken from March 13 2015. Photo: US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The ABC’s shortwave radio broadcasts helped many in Vanuatu during Cyclone Pam in 2015.

As you read this, a cyclone is forming east of Vanuatu. As people in Vanuatu are well aware, up-to-date information is critical when preparing for a natural disaster.

Unfortunately, in the middle of the Pacific cyclone season, Australia’s national broadcaster, the ABC, says it will end shortwave radio broadcasts to the Pacific Islands by 31st January.

This decision puts lives at risk in Vanuatu and the rest of the Pacific. The ABC’s shortwave service provide lifesaving information during cyclones and other disasters as well as playing an important role in ensuring media freedom. Here in Vanuatu, during Cyclone Pam in 2015, ABC shortwave broadcasts helped people outside of the range of FM radio and cellular phone towers keep up to date with cyclone warnings. The service undoubtedly helped ni-Vanuatu people prepare and may have even saved lives.

The Pacific Freedom Forum has organised a petition to let decision-makers in Australia know how vital the ABC’s shortwave radio services are for us in the Pacific. Will you please help?

Please click this link to sign the petition.

Thank you.

Cyclone season begins: 2–3 cyclones expected in Vanuatu this season, warns Meteo Dept

Cyclone Pam wind chart

File graphic of 2015’s Cyclone Pam. With 2-3 cyclones predicted for Vanuatu this season, the Vanuatu Meteorological and Geohazards Dept is urging everyone to start their cyclone preparations NOW.

Vanuatu can expect 2 to 3 tropical cyclones in the 2016/2017 cyclone season, according to Vanuatu’s Meteorology and Geohazard Department (VMGD), which is predicting a normal to elevated risk of cyclones passing through the Vanuatu archipelago between now and April 2017.

Under the present weak La Niña conditions, Vanuatu is more likely to experience a Category 3 cyclone, and less likely to experience a Category 4 or 5 cyclone, says VMGD.

However, they emphasise that all communities should stay alert and be well prepared for the possibility of a severe tropical cyclone, and now is the right time to begin preparations.

The current La Niña event is elevating sea surface temperatures in the western Pacific, and this is likely to be Read the rest of this entry »

New Air Vanuatu ATR-72-600 to begin service next week

Air Vanuatu's new ATR-72-600, callsign YJ-AV73, is currently en route to Vanuatu to beign service. Photo: Supplied

Air Vanuatu’s new ATR-72-600, callsign YJ-AV73, is currently en route from the ATR factory in Toulouse, France to Vanuatu to begin service on Monday. Photo: Supplied

The new ATR-72-600 for Air Vanuatu arrives in Port Vila on Monday, when there will be a welcome ceremony at the airport. The aircraft, Air Vanuatu’s first 600 model, will provide domestic services as well as regional routes such as the one to Tontouta, New Caledonia. (Daily Post)

Manufacturer ATR released this amazing video showing the new Air Vanuatu aircraft being built in the factory, including a very cool timelapse of the plane being painted in the Air Vanuatu colours:

The National Coordinator of the Custom Land Management Act says it is “necessary to increase the [Department of] Lands budget and revisit the new Act to facilitate a peaceful process towards resolving land disputes.” Alicta Vuti made the statement after being threatened in relation to a land dispute Read the rest of this entry »

Improved cyclone tracking map issued ahead of next cyclone season

Vanuatu Meteorological Services's new cyclone tracking map, June 2016. Click on the image to load a larger version.

Vanuatu Meteorological Services’s new cyclone tracking map, June 2016. Click on the image to load a larger version.

A new and improved tropical cyclone tracking map has been issued by Vanuatu Meteorological Services. It shows the updated frequencies and times of broadcast of cyclone warnings. And there are sketches of the likely effects caused over land by the different categories of cyclones. Click on the image  Read the rest of this entry »

Cyclone Zena causes minor damage; PM wants stronger relations with New Caledonia

A house on Pentecost destroyed by Cyclone Zena last night. Photo: Kelly Bonga via Yumi Toktok Stret

A house on Pentecost destroyed by Cyclone Zena last night. Photo: Kelly Bonga (via YTS)

Read the rest of this entry »

Weak cyclone to form offshore tomorrow; Broadcasters must pay fees owing; Tax system under review

Tropical Cyclone Forecast Track Map Number 1 issued at 11:36 am VUT Tuesday 5 April 2016 by Vanuatu Meteorological Services

Read the rest of this entry »