Cyclone Judy is hitting Vanuatu with heavy rain and destructive winds of 150 kilometres per hour, gusting to 200km/h!
The cyclone first hit the island of Pentecost, in the country's north-east, on Tuesday night and has reached the capital, Port Vila, on Wednesday, being upgraded from a category 3 to a category 4 cyclone.
Schools and businesses are closed and Air Vanuatu has cancelled all domestic and international flights, with flights expected to resume on Thursday.
On Tuesday night, Vanuatu Meteorology department manager Fred Jockley said the cyclone was slow-moving and almost "stationary".
"It will take probably until March 2nd to move away from the country completely," he said.
Carol Rovo, the provincial emergency coordinator for Sanma Province, said people in some areas were evacuated to higher ground. Many people living in remote areas did not have access to cyclone warnings via radio or other communications, so her team visited those areas on Tuesday to make sure families were prepared.
"We are still in red alert. Some of our schools are still closed," Ms Rovo said, but she added the cyclone had begun to move away from the area, towards the southern provinces.
Dickinson Tevi, secretary-general of the Vanuatu Red Cross Society, said strong winds hit the organisation's office in Port Vila early this morning.
"It's currently quiet at the moment," he said.
"We don't know whether we are right in the eye of the cyclone.
"Are still more winds expected or has it gone past us? But there's a lot of people saying … probably we're in the eye of the storm."
Power outages have been reported in several parts of the capital.
Red Cross emergency response teams in all provinces have been put on high alert and have been preparing an emergency plan of action. As soon as the cyclone passes, this emergency plan will be put in place, but so far only minor damages are expected.
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9 maanden ago