21 Mar 2014

Chief in Vanuatu confirms deaths were from flash flood, not landslide

3:04 pm on 21 March 2014

In Vanuatu, a custom chief from Puarante Village in South Santo says it was not a landslide that wiped his village out but a flash flood measuring about 17 metres high.

The chief made the clarification to Prime Minister Moana Carcasses and the Acting Director General Albert William who visited the village by helicopter this week.

The chief says several days earlier an entire hill crumbled into the river bed, three kilometres behind the village in the mountains.

A huge body of water started collecting behind the walls and he says he sent his son to Puarante Village many times to warn the villagers to move to higher ground, but they refused to move.

A flash flood swept away the village at night killing at least eight people.

Two of the bodies have not been found.

Meanwhile the Australian High Commission, World Vision, Sanma Province, the police and local communities and businesses have provided assistance to the victims of the flood as well as Cyclone Lusi.