One Man’s Aftermath in Vanuatu

Now that the winds have died down in the island nation of Vanuatu a man is concerned for his family. After Tropical Cyclone Pam hit the shores of Vanuatu’s on Thursday, it took several hours for images and information to circulate on what exactly happened. The United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) was stated to arrive in Port Vila today. The United Nations has released the numbers that came out today were 24 people dead and 3,300 people displaced of the approximately 266,000 who lived on the islands.

Jonathan Yonah is 35 and originally from the isand of Epi. He has not heard from his family since the wind and rain started on Thursday. Epi is located in the heart of the Vanuatu archipelago and Yonah keeps the memories alive through pictures and maps of it in his home. He lives on the island of Hamilton and works as a student teacher at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. He lives with his wife Tania, 30 and his young daughter Tracy.

Yonah said that he reached his sister at Port Vila, the capital city of Vanuatu, but his father has been missing for days now. Since the people who live on Vanuatu are mostly farmers, food and water supply is an ongoing concern.

Vanuatu is an archipelago in the south pacific known for its tiny islands and shack houses. The islands are a perfect setting for an isolated getaway. However, March is their hurricane season, and much of the infrastructure is wont to stand the ever-strengthening winds and rain, much less the support for people who have been evacuated.

Tropical Cyclone Pam is the worst cyclone the island has seen in recent years. The president of Vanuatu, Baldwin Lonsdale called for help at a UN convention in Japan, expressing his concern for the future of the country and speculating that climate change could have contributed to the force.

Jonathan, like many others in his country has plans to return to his family’s homeland, but it is as yet unclear when he will be able to travel because the two airports on the islands of Vanuatu are still closed.