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Still waiting for Cyclone Pam

World Vision
13 March 2015 by Chloe Morrison
Still waiting for Cyclone Pam

Cyclone Pam, a category five storm, is on it's way towards Vanuatu.

Cyclone Pam is still coming and I and the rest of Vanuatu are still waiting.

Yesterday morning Cyclone Pam, then a category 4, was moving slower than I could run.

Overnight Cyclone Pam was upgraded to a category 5, in terms of cyclone gradings she’s topping the class. A category 5 cyclone is as intense as it gets – bringing strong winds and lots of rain.

Cyclone Pam has been brewing like a bad cup of coffee for more than a week now.

On the positive side, the waiting has meant we’ve had time to prepare.

Our World Vision staff have been amazing – visiting communities to warn them of the cyclone, helping families to protect their houses, and informing villages at-risk of where evacuation centres are – all while preparing their own families and homes for what is on track to be Vanuatu’s most devastating cyclone in almost 30 years.

But the wait for Cyclone Pam is almost over and she is almost here.

My trip to the supermarket last night was evident of that. Port Vila is a sleepy tourist town, where peak hour at the supermarket means waiting for two people.

Last night was chaos! There were people everywhere – stocking up on last minute essentials. There were no baskets or shopping trolleys left, so I walked around with more water and candles precariously balanced in my arms. Just as we don’t know when Pam will arrive, we also don’t know when she’ll leave.

As I’ve spoken to journalists this morning a lot have asked if I’m scared.

To be truthful – it was only on Thursday night when I was discussing Plan C of the Ducking for cover plan: Where will we go if the roof comes off? – that it hit me; I too am going to be living through a cyclone.

I’d been so caught up in work and ensuring I had enough water that I had managed to forget the reason why; a tropical cyclone is coming my way.

So am I scared; potentially the biggest cyclone to ever come to Vanuatu is coming my way; yes that’s scary. But I’m scared for the people of Vanuatu who won’t be as fortunate as me, when the time comes to bunker down I have a solid cement house, and plan A, B and C in place; I know I’m going to be as safe as possible in a cyclone.

But I am scared for the people who are out in the remote villages of Pentecost with locally made leaf huts as homes, I’m scared for the people live by the coast of Santo and are risk of landslides, and I write this with tears in my eyes – I am terrified about what might happen to my workmates out on the most remote and isolated villages throughout Tanna, Santo and Pentecost. Who have spent this week putting the needs of the communities around them first. Like they do every day of the year.

So yes, I’m scared, but I also know I’ll be as safe as I possibly can be.

To everyone in Vanuatu, take care. And to the support I and World Vision Vanuatu have been receiving this week – thank you.

In an emergency, the first 72 hours are critical. Your donation to the Disaster Ready fund enables us to help people quickly when emergencies strike, wherever they happen around the world.

Chloe Morrison Chloe Morrison

Chloe is Grants and Communications Officer for World Vision in Vanuatu.

 

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