Tropical cyclone Judy hits Vanuatu with all flights cancelled

All domestic and international flights for Tuesday and Wednesday have been cancelled in the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, which is now being hit by category-two tropical cyclone Judy.

According to Radio New Zealand (RNZ) on Tuesday night, commercial ships were urged by the country’s Port and Marine Departments to find safe anchorage while banks and boarding schools in the capital city of Port Vila have also been closed.

Vanuatu’s National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) has prepared evacuation centers in the capital city, but for the rest of Efate island and other offshore islands, the office is working closely with the Vanuatu Christian Council of Churches to use church buildings as evacuation centers.

People throughout the island nation have been urged to take seriously the warnings given by the country’s Meteorological Department.

Tropical cyclone Judy, which is now affecting Vanuatu’s northern provinces of Torba, Sanma, Penama and Malampa, is expected to intensify into a category three storm when it reaches the capital city on Wednesday.

In March 2015, category-five tropical cyclone Pam caused widespread damage and claimed 24 lives in Vanuatu, which has a population of more than 320,000.

The tropical cyclone season, which runs from Nov. 1 to April 30 every year, can cause widespread rainfall and flooding in the cyclone-hit island countries. ■

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