Vanuatu | Category Five Cyclone Hits Vanuatu
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Category Five Cyclone Hits Vanuatu
A category five cyclone hits Vanuatu directly on March 14, 2015. Named Tropical Cyclone Pam, the storm carried heavy rainfall and damaging winds as strong as 168 miles per hour. At least 3,300 people sought shelter in 37 evacuation centers.
The following day, an official at the United Nations (UN) Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that Cyclone Pam would likely be the South Pacific's worst natural disaster. “At least nine nations have experienced some level of devastation including Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Fiji, Tuvalu, and Papua New Guinea. Officials have yet to assess the damage in many of the hard-hit outer islands because communications and power remain cut,” the UN official said. As of March 17, the death toll from the cyclone was 11, according to the UN, but the number was expected to rise as the rescue effort continued.
In Feb. 2016, Charlot Salwai was elected prime minister. The head of the Reunification of Movements for Change party, Salwai has previously served as Vanuatu's Minister for Education, Minister for Finance, Minister for Trade, Minister for Lands, and Minister of Internal Affairs.