Barreling across the South Pacific, category five Tropical Cyclone Pam is due to pass east of Vanuatu’s capital, Port Vila, in the next 12 hours. The cyclone is producing winds of up to 160 miles per hour, making it the strongest cyclone to hit the region since 1987. Evacuations are continuing as residents brace for the impact of the storm.
“Right now everyone in Fiji is buttoning down for Cyclone Pam. Looking to be a direct hit,” wrote a Direct Relief partner in an email.
A Direct Relief shipment of medicines and supplies is en route to Fiji and can be used to help people affected by the storm, if needed.
High rates of poverty and a lack of infrastructure in Vanuatu increases the country’s vulnerability to extreme weather events and, therefore, the potential for a natural disaster.
Direct Relief continues to monitor the storm and has reached out to local health organizations in Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji and the Solomon Islands. Direct Relief’s emergency response staff, working with Palantir Technologies, will be monitoring the situation as it develops in the next 24 hours.