International

Category 5 Cyclone Pounds South Pacific Island, Levelling Buildings Amid Virus Lockdown

SYDNEY—A powerful tropical cyclone made landfall on the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu on Monday, witnesses said, levelling buildings in a country already in a state of emergency due to concerns about the CCP virus.

Cyclone Harold approached Sanma province, an island north of the capital Port Vila, with winds of up to 133 miles (215 km) per hour about 1 pm local time (02:00 GMT), as the country of 276,000 people bunkered down.

There were no immediate reports of injuries. The cyclone was upgraded to a Category 5 as it approached, the highest category.

“There is lots of damage in Sanma, they lost lots of buildings,” said Jacqueline de Gaillande, CEO of Vanuatu Red Cross, by telephone from the capital Port Vila where the cyclone was expected to hit overnight.

The province of Sanmar sits on the biggest of Vanuatus 80 islands and is home to its second-most populous city, Luganville, where photos circulated on social media purported to show buildings flattened by the storm.

Epoch Times Photo
Epoch Times Photo
Cyclone Harold brings strong winds in Luganville, Vanuatu on April 6, 2020, in this still image obtained from a social media video. (Courtesy of Adra Vanuatu/Social Media via Reuters)

“We dont know if we can provide any supports to the island because we are not allowed to travel inter-island and we are waiting for the government to make that decision,” added de Gaillande, referring to travel restrictions associated with the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

Vanuatu has reported no cases of COVID-19 but has nonetheless declared a state of emergency, banned most international and domestic air travel and limited public gatherings to five people as it tries to prevent a local outbreak of the flu-like illness.

The Pacific region has recorded about 60 confirmed cases of the illness and one death, in Guam, according to media repoRead More – Source

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