14 Jan 2011

Cyclone Vania devastates food crops on Tanna in Vanuatu

12:10 pm on 14 January 2011

Vanuatu's National Disaster Management Office says Cyclone Vania has devastated food crops, damaged homes and blocked roads on the island of Tanna.

Nearby Erromango has suffered heavy flooding and vegetation damage.

There are no reports of any deaths of injuries.

The islands of Tafea province were thought to be the worst hit by Vania's destructive winds which rose to 110 kilometres an hour as it made its way slowly south west towards New Caledonia.

An officer with the National Disaster Management Office, Esrom Molisa, says he's finally made contact with the islands after communications were cut because of the storm.

He says Vania badly affected banana, coconut and other food crops on Tanna, floods and fallen trees cut access to the eastern part of the island, and rooves were stripped off some houses.

He says work is now underway to clear roads and there's now access to the airport.

There's been no word yet from Tanna's east where damage is thought to be greater because of higher winds there.

Mr Molisa says the impact of crop devastation will not be felt until two or three months from now.

He says once his office has assessed the damage it will make recommendations to Vanuatu's National Disaster Committee for any donor assistance.