Flash flood wipes out Puarante village, Vanuatu

Flash flood wipes out Puarante village, Vanuatu

On March 10/11, Tropical Cyclone Lusi struck the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu causing flooding, destroying houses and crops and causing one reported death.

The Vanuatu National Disaster Management Office issued cyclone warnings for Torba (population 9,359), Sanma (45,855), Penama (30,819) and Malampa (36,727) Provinces on Sunday, March 9, 2014. Approximately 72 mm (3”) of rainfall was observed at Pekoa Airport in the 24 hour period up to 18:00 UTC on Sunday.

Several days later an entire hill crumbled into the river bed, three kilometers behind the Puarante village in South Santo and a huge body of water started collecting behind the walls. (Source)

Custom chief from Puarante said he sent his son many times to warn the villagers to move to higher ground but they refused to move.

When wall collapsed a flash flood measuring about 17 meters high swept away the village killing at least 8 people. 

The Australian High Commission, World Vision, Sanma Province, the police and local communities and businesses have provided assistance to the victims of the flood as well as Cyclone Lusi.

Featured image: Tropical Cyclone Lusi. Image credit OCHA

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