12 Apr 2017

Vanuatu still assessing damage from Cyclone Cook

2:26 pm on 12 April 2017

Vanuatu is still assessing the damage in the wake of Cyclone Cook.

A creek in North Efate has rendered the ring road temporarily impassable. It's designed to handle overflow, but water volumes are unsafe.

Photo: Dan McGarry

The category 2 cyclone swept through at the weekend causing widespread flooding and damage to infrastructure and crops mainly on Efate, with some people having to evacuate.

The department's planning and research officer, Peter Korisa, said while most people had now returned back to their homes to clean up, his team was working on recovery plans.

"So far our team is trying to focus on working with provincial authorities just to do some assessments and our focus is now more on assessment particularly more so the sanitation, infrastructure, and education."

Mr Korisa said while food security remained a concern, the priority was co-ordinating relief supplies and food to people worst affected.

Meanwhile, Vanuatu farmers were being urged to plant more cyclone-resistant crops in the wake of the cyclone

The cyclone caused flooding to low lying areas affecting key crops and local food gardens on islands, such as Epi, where wind damaged, not only root crops, but also banana and papaya.

Vanuatu's Chamber of Commerce senior agribusiness project officer Francois Kavirere said it was important farmers planted cyclone-resistant crops.

"When the farm is devastated by the cyclone we have to start again. So we have to educate them about cyclone resistant crops so when a cyclone hits it can't damage the plant very much and ensures food security inside the farm. "

However, Mr Kavierere said the damage to crops from Cyclone Cook was minimal compared to that caused by Cyclone Pam.