Disasters: Earthquakes & Cyclones Ravage Vanuatu

The Independent (March 28, 2023) – The tiny Pacific island state of Vanuatu was hit by two category-four cyclones and two earthquakes over three days this month, in a devastating onslaught that destroyed homes, cut power, and impacted 80 per cent of the population.

Scientists say global heating is already making major tropical cyclones like those that hit Vanuatu more frequent. Under moderate and worst-case climate scenarios, the country is expected to lose around 20-25 per cent of its GDP from natural disasters each year, according to a recent UN report. Later this month Vanuatu’s proposal for a top international court to clarify the obligations of states to tackle climate change and the consequences of not doing so under international law will be put to a vote at the United Nations.

Vanuatu is a South Pacific Ocean nation made up of roughly 80 islands that stretch 1,300 kilometers. The islands offer scuba diving at coral reefs, underwater caverns and wrecks such as the WWII-era troopship SS President Coolidge. Harborside Port Vila, the nation’s capital and economic center, is on the island of Efate. The city is home to the Vanuatu National Museum, which explores the nation’s Melanesian culture.

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