May 4 – 2017. Kuala Lumpur – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is concerned by the humanitarian threat posed by Cyclone Donna, a Category 3 tropical storm, which is expected to make landfall in the north of Vanuatu this evening.

The cyclone has been gradually increasing in intensity and could reach Category 4 status in the next 12-24 hours as it tracks south through the country. The Government has warned communities in the provinces of Torba and Penama to evacuate to safety as the cyclone is anticipated to bring winds of up to 185 kilometres per hour.

Cyclone Donna could cause extensive wind damage and flooding. Emergency response teams of the Vanuatu Red Cross are on high alert and preparedness measures are in place to mobilise relief supplies which have been pre-positioned in six depots’ strategically located throughout the country. The IFRC is monitoring the situation closely and is mobilizing experts from within the region to support any potential emergency operation. 

The last major tropical storm to hit Vanuatu was Tropical Cyclone Pam which struck on 13 March, 2015. The Category 5 storm caused extensive damage to over 60,000 homes, affecting 188,000 people – 70 per cent of Vanuatu’s population.

“It’s an unpredictable storm coming very late in the cyclone season. Our experience from Cyclone Pam has shown us that preparedness is vital and while homes and livelihoods may be at risk, moving people to safety is the priority,” said Martin Faller, the IFRC’s Deputy Regional Director for Asia Pacific.

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Media contacts

In Suva:

Corinne Ambler, Communications Delegate, IFRC CCST for Pacific, Suva
Mobile: +679 9980166
Twitter: @corinneambler

In Vanuatu:

Dickinson Tevi, Communications Coordinator, Vanuatu Red Cross Society
Mobile: + 678 77 44 119 or landline: +678 54 75 766

In Kuala Lumpur:

Patrick Fuller, Regional Communications Manager, IFRC Asia Pacific Office, Kuala Lumpur
Mobile: +60122308451
Twitter: @pat_fuller

In Geneva:

Laura Ngo-Fontaine, Senior Communications Officer, Media and Advocacy
Mobile: +41 79 959 3662