OCHA Flash Update on Tropical Cyclone Lusi in Vanuatu (12 March)

TC Lusi is now moving away from Vanuatu and is located approximately 265 km northeast of Aneityum and 280 km east of Erromango. The cyclone has intensified to a Category 3 system and is heading in a south-southeast direction at 20 km/h. Tafea is the only province under cyclone alert at this time.

Three deaths have been confirmed; a man in Pentecost, a boy in Santo and a woman in Malekula. There are numerous reports of damage to houses and people sheltering in evacuation centres. Many coastal and low-lying communities are flooded, and there are concerns groundwater sources have been contaminated due to damaged water infrastructure. All provinces are reporting extensive damage to crops and fruit trees, including coconut, breadfruit, papaya, banana, manioc and yam.

In Torba Province, three houses collapsed in Gaua and flooding affected half of Vatop community in Vanua Lava. Officials are yet to make contact with many islands in the Torres Group, including Hiu, Tegua and Toga. In Penama Province, over 50 people from communities on Ambae Island were evacuated to a church and nakamal (traditional meeting place), and in Sanma Province there is flooding in low-lying areas. Malampa Province reports flooding and blocked roads, and Shefa Province has evacuation centres in Epi, Emae, and Efate. All schools will reopen tomorrow, except in Tafea Province.

The National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) continues to collect initial damage information from provincial representatives. The Vanuatu Red Cross Society volunteers, together with Community Disaster Committee members, will begin preliminary assessments tomorrow, with the Vanuatu Humanitarian Team providing assessment and coordination support. The National Disaster Committee has made no formal request for international assistance, however the NDMO intends to brief international partners if required.

Another weather system, ex-Tropical Cyclone Hadi, is being monitored from its location in the Coral Sea. In the Solomon Islands, a tropical cyclone and tropical disturbance watch is current for Temotu, Rennel and Bellona, Makira, Southern Guadalcanal and Malaita Provinces. In Fiji, a cyclone gale and heavy swell warning is in force for the Yasawa and Mamanuca group, western half of Viti Levu, Kadavu and nearby small islands, while a strong wind warning is in force for the rest of Fiji. TC Lusi is tracking towards New Zealand, although expected to weaken before reaching the North Island.

This is the third OCHA Flash Update on Tropical Cyclone (TC) Lusi in Vanuatu. The next update will be issued when initial assessments have progressed.

Weather warnings are available from the following websites: