Pacific Media Watch

18 March 2015

VANUATU: Super Cyclone Pam: ‘We have no water, nothing,’ says chief

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Devastation in Taunono village near Vanuatu's capital of Port Vila. Image: /UNICEF

Gaelle Sevenier
PORT VILA (Pacific Scoop/UNICEF/Pacific Media Watch): Narua Joe Kwane is the chief of what used to be a village before Cyclone Pam completely destroyed it on Saturday.

About 200 people lived in Taunono village near Port Vila, a majority being children.

Kwane tells his story:

    “One week ago we heard a warning through the radio about a cyclone coming towards us. They always say there will be a cyclone on the radio.

    “So we stayed in our village until our pastor came himself to talk to us. I then realised it was serious and I called the National Disaster Management Office. They came with trucks and took the villagers to a nearby church.

    “We all stayed there throughout the storm which lasted from 6pm to 4am. Children were very, very afraid. Some of us stayed outside, hiding under trees. One man died – he was hit by a water tank.

    “Everything is gone. All the houses are damaged or destroyed. We now have to live outside, sleep outside with the children, and it may rain again. So far no one came, no one gave us food. We have no water, nothing.

    “We are searching for coconuts to drink out of them. Kids are chowing the sugar can they can find on the floor. There are almost no more trees. There are no more fruits for us to eat…

    “We owned a small nakamal (a traditional gathering area) where local men used to come to drink cava. It was our main source of income but now it’s all gone. We don’t have anything left.”

Gaelle Sevenier is a communication specialist for UNICEF in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Her report is republished from the UNICEF blog. Support the appeal.

Other Cyclone Pam disaster stories here

Narua Joe Kwane is chief of Taunono village, located near Port Vila. Cyclone Pam completely destroyed all houses where over 200 were living. Image: Gaelle Sevenier/UNICEF

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