Vanuatu Disaster Officials Fear More Deaths From Cyclone Lusi

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Nearly half the country’s population affected by storm

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 14, 2014) – Vanuatu's Disaster Management Office says the death toll could rise as it establishes the full extent of damage caused by Tropical Cyclone Lusi.

Three people have been confirmed dead and one person is seriously injured as a result of the category 1 then 2 cyclone.

[PIR editor’s note: Radio Australia reported that 6 people are still missing on Santo island following the storm.]

The office's director, Shadrack Welegtabit, says almost half of Vanuatu's population has been affected across 5 provinces including Efate, where the capital Port Vila is located.

Mr Welegtabit says communication with some remote areas is proving difficult, but telecommunication infrastructure is still largely working.

He says there has been some damage to infrastructure including housing, but most of it has been to food crops.

He says a greater picture should emerge after aerial surveillance today.

"Currently we are collecting and compiling reports coming in from the affected communities and islands. We are still spending time doing that and we are also organising for aerial surveillance of the affected area," Welegtabit.

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