FCO confirms state of emergency in aftermath of Vanuatu cyclone

FCO confirms state of emergency in aftermath of Vanuatu cyclone

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Resorts on cyclone-hit Vanuatu are reporting “limited” damage or less, but tourism chiefs in the Pacific island nation say the immediate focus is on recovery from the disaster.

The message from the Vanuatu Tourism Office Europe came as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) confirmed that a state of emergency had been declared in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Pam.

“Initial reports suggest extensive and widespread damage to buildings and infrastructure across the country including the capital, Port Vila, where an estimated 90% of buildings have been destroyed or damaged,” the FCO said.

The tourism office said the state or emergency in Shefa province may be extended to other locations once the impact from the cyclone is fully assessed.

European director, Jeanette Baude, said that “the key priority of both the Vanuatu and Australian governments and the national carrier Air Vanuatu is to provide much-needed aid to restore essential services and infrastructure and ultimately assist the Ni-Vanuatu people to rebuild their communities”.

She added: “From a tourism infrastructure perspective many resorts are reporting limited or no damage to buildings so once essential services are restored to a normal level, resorts will again be open for business.

“In the months to come Europeans will be encouraged to support Vanuatu by visiting but for the next few days the emphasis is on getting the country back on its feet.”

“We advise those managing bookings for travel to Vanuatu in the next few weeks to check directly with the property and Air Vanuatu to confirm if they are able to cater for these guests as planned.”

Air Vanuatu resumed air services between Australia and Vanuatu yesterday (Monday) and regular updates are being posted on airvanuatu.com.

Vanuatu tourism operators have reported the following:

  • Sunset Bungalows: Sustained some damage and some waterfront bungalows have gone. Guests moved to Chantilly's on the Bay.
  • Chantilly's on the Bay: Small amount of damage. Wharf has been washed away.
  • The Terraces: Minor ceiling damage to the reception. Open for business.
  • Mangoes Resort: Sustained minimal damage. Open for business.
  • Vale Vale: Minimal damage to resort and repairs will be made as soon as power is restored. Open for business.
  • Iririki Island Resort: Early reports suggest the property sustained significant damage.
  • Ocean Blue Vanuatu: Minimal damage to some lodges in the resort.
  • The Havannah: The road to the resort is gone. Resort sustained significant damage.
  • Warwick Le Lagon: Damage sustained by resort, total impact not yet confirmed.
  • Benjour Beach Club: Sustained minor damage to resort, will remain closed for one month.
  • Poppys on the Lagoon: Sustained limited damage, unable to accept new guests for a few days.
  • Vila 25: Sustained minimal damage. Open for business.
  • The Melanesian: No major damage but no power. Some inconvenience to new guests in the coming weeks.
  • Moorings: No major damage but no power. Some inconvenience to new guests in the coming weeks.
  • Coconut Palms Resort: Sustained minimal damage and will be closed for up to three weeks.
  • Mariner Apartments: Sustained minimal damage – more information to come.

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