Vanuatu reels from twin cyclones, earthquakes

by IANS |

Port Vila, March 3 (IANS) The Pacific nation of Vanuatu on Friday declared a state of emergency as it reels from two earthquakes and two cyclones.

The 6.5 and 5.4 magnitude quakes struck on Friday, just a day after Cyclone Judy swept through the islands.

The category four storm caused damage and flooding across the country, but no casualties have been reported yet.

Locals are now bracing for another major tropical storm -- Cyclone Kevin -- set to make landfall on Friday.

According to Radio New Zealand, Prime Minister Ishmael Kalsakau said that the state of emergency, which took effect from Thursday night, will allow the islands most affected by Judy to receive help immediately.

Tropical cyclone Judy has caused extensive damage to Vanuatu, uprooting trees and cutting off telecommunication in parts of the nation, including the capital city of Port Vila, reports Xinhua news agency.

While people are still cleaning up after Judy, it is reported that tropical cyclone Kevin will bring more destruction, and warnings have already been issued for strong winds, heavy rainfall and rough swells.

The severe weather has triggered suspension of both domestic and international flights while ships, boats and small fishing rafts are advised not to go out to sea.

Some essential services like the banks will be temporarily closed on Friday.

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