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Updates on Vanuatu's Tropical Cyclone Pam

photo of Toniliu village, Efate, Vanuatu

The people of Vanuatu celebrated their Independence Day on July 30, 2015.

Vanuatu continues to recover from the effects of Tropical Cyclone Pam, which caused extensive and widespread damage to buildings and infrastructure across the country including the capital Port Vila in March 2015.

Most services have returned to normal. International flight schedules have resumed and all roads in Port Vila are open. Domestic airlines are operating to a new schedule. Check with your airline before travelling. The port is open with regular container ships bringing provisions into the country and cruise liners have returned to their normal scheduled visits.

Some hotels haven’t re-opened, so you should check your booking before travelling. Shops are open as normal and there are no reported food shortages in Port Vila. Water borne diseases are reported to be increasing.

Vanuatu lies on the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’ and regularly experiences seismic and volcanic activity, with over 2,000 seismic events reported each year.

Earthquakes

Vanuatu is prone to significant year round seismic and volcanic activity, with over 2,000 seismic events reported each year. Most events are small scale, although larger tremors and quakes of over 5 on the Richter scale do occur on a regular basis. The US Federal Emergency Management Agency has advice about what to do before, during and after an earthquake.

Volcanoes

Take care when visiting active volcanoes. The Vanuatu government’s Mines and Geology Department issues notices to the Vanuatu Tourism Office and provincial councils using an activity alert scale with five levels from 0-4. Levels 3 and 4 indicate more dangerous activity. Contact the Vanuatu Toursim Office before travelling to the areas where volcanic activity may occure. Information on volcanic activity can also be round at the Vanuatu Geohazards Observatory.

The alert level for the Mount Yasur volcano on the island of Tanna has been lowered to Level 2. Projectiles, ash and gas are reaching the summit area, the tourist walk and the parking area. Approaching the volcano summit could be dangerous.

Tropical cyclones

The tropical cyclone season in Vanuatu normally runs from November to April. Throughout this period there is a high risk of strong winds and heavy rains with associated flooding, landslides and road closures.

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