Communities in Vanuatu are bracing for destructive winds nearing 100kmh and heavy rainfall as slow-moving Tropical Cyclone Oma approaches the Pacific nation, warns Save the Children.
The cyclone is expected to reach the island of Santo in northern Vanuatu today, with the country’s national disaster office issuing a ‘red alert’ for the storm on Thursday.
Save the Children staff in Vanuatu have been assisting local communities to prepare for Cyclone Oma’s arrival, ensuring children and families are aware of evacuation points and recovery procedures.
“There’s a risk of landslides and flash flooding, with Cyclone Oma expected to bring heavy rains and powerful winds. Right now the priority is to ensure communities are well-informed about what to do to prepare for the cyclone, the supports available and of evacuation measures,” said Save the Children’s Acting Country Director in Vanuatu, Lee Gordon.
“As always we will work in close coordination with government and non-government agencies on the ground as the cyclone approaches and in the aftermath.”
Save the Children has stockpiles of aid in Vanuatu, including hundreds of tarpaulins for temporary shelter, household kits and hygiene kits.
“Our team on the ground is monitoring the storm closely, and Save the Children stands ready to respond to the cyclone if requested by the Vanuatu government. We will do everything in our power to meet the needs of children and families,” Mr Gordon said.
“Children are especially vulnerable during times of crisis, and it’s important special attention is paid to ensuring their emotional and physical wellbeing.”
Save the Children has a long history responding to emergencies in Vanuatu, including when Cyclone Pam struck the Pacific nation in 2015.
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