AFAP manages the Australian-Pacific Centre for Emergency and Disaster Information (APCEDI) to provide news on natural disaster events in the Asia-Pacific region and to help with rapid disaster response assessment. This was originally a communications network that was activated during a disaster to disseminate information to our Asia-Pacific NGO offices. Now APCEDI has a much wider application across the Asia-Pacific Region.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

APCEDI Alert 13P, Cyclone Ivy #16, 2004

Dear Colleagues

Alert 16, Cyclone Ivy 13P / 26 February 2004, Sydney 2300 EDT

The interaction of the Ivy’s eye with Efate seems to have weakened the storm down to a borderline Category 2-3. After passing Efate the eye became indistinct and infilled. Now interaction with Erromango may further weaken the storm. A mass of deep convection has formed to the west of the eye. Torrential rains and Category 2-3 winds continue over Efate, Erromango and Tanna. Ivy’s forward speed continues slow at 8 knots to the south.

Intermittent heavy rains continue over the southern Southern Malakula, Ambrym, Epi the Shepherds and Anatom. Intermittent showers are over Northern Malakula, Maewo, Pentecost and Ambae. Due to the slow forward speed of Ivy, this torrential rainfall situation will continue tonight through Central and Southern Vanuatu.

Most predictive models continue to forecast Ivy tracking southerly across the length of Vanuatu throughout the next 12 hours and then on to the east of New Caledonia. The official track out of the JTWC has Ivy moving over the Southern Islands tonight and then on to the Loyalty Islands and New Caledonia tomorrow as a Category 2 west of Tanna for 12 hours and then declining thereafter. As such, the APCEDI warnings will continue all of Vanuatu from Santo south. The APCEDI alerts for the Santa Cruz Group, the Torres Group and the Banks Group have now been lifted although isolated short-lived squalls will still occur. If the eye feature maintains it current course, it will continue to pass over or just west of Tanna in 2-4 hours.

The current situation is summarised as follows:

Damaging Category 2-3 Eyewall-strength Winds and Torrential Rains

Damaging Gales and/ or Category 1-2 Winds and Torrential Rains (moving away)
Southern Malakula

Sustained Gales and Heavy Rain approaching damaging Category 2-3 force in the next 4-10 hours
New Caledonia
Loyalty Islands

Intermittent Gales and Heavy Rain associated with Feeder Bands ( moving away)
Northern and Central Malakula

Given the Category 2-3 nature of the storm, damage overall at this time should be widespread moderate to locally severe from Efate on south. Widespread moderate and locally severe damage continues to the be reported from the capital Port Vila. The danger from flash-flooding remains extremely high as the storm creeps so slowly toward the south. As Ivy continues this slow movement, very heavy widespread rainfall could result in flash-flooding of mountain and hill areas as well as known flood prone areas. This is especially critical for the large Vanuatu islands. Due to the islands’ very high relief and the slow movement of the storm, flash flooding will be a major threat throughout tonight and tomorrow especially if the the storm continues to pass slowly or even stalls. Locally severe to catastrophic damage will also likely occur in and around the eye of the storm. Varying degrees of crop damage are also likely. Seas will be very rough to phenomenal resulting in tidal flooding of low-lying areas.

Efate and the capital, Port Vila
Efate is still in an area of deep convection with intermittent torrential rains and winds, but the eye has now moved south. NDMO is reporting widespread moderate to localised severe damage in Vila as follows:
trees down blocking roads
power lines and poles down
large fishing boat capsized near the main wharf with a resulting oil spill
1700 people in evacuation shelters
power off in parts of Vila but on in other parts
phones mostly functioning
flooding of low-lying areas
some small bridges being washed out

With the entire country including the capital impacted by this event, GOV and the people of Vanuatu will need serious assistance to coordinate the assessment and relief efforts.

Larger Northern and Central Vanuatu Islands
NDMO has established communications with some islands and have had the following reports which have not been confirmed:
Maewo- (radio contact)-many unstable and older houses damaged, newer more permanent houses largely withstanding storm.
Ambae-(radio contact)-many houses damaged.
Ambrym-(telephone contact with west)-school severely damaged, many houses damaged.

The centre of Ivy is now near Erromango. Torrential rains and damaging Category 2-3 winds have pounded Maewo, Pentecost, Ambae, Santo, Ambrym and Malakula for 2 days and are subsiding tonight in most northern areas. Epi, the Shepherds and Efate have been under the central core all day and this will continue into tonight, but later tonight conditions will slowly improve from north to south. The slow moving nature of the storm means that rainfalls in the hundreds of millimetres will have been registered throughout the region. Flooding from intermittent showers is still possible as all rivers and streams are running high.

Larger Southern Vanuatu Islands
Ivy’s center is near Erromango and will likely hit Tanna and Anatom later tonight. Widespread moderate to severe damage can be expected. The slow moving nature of the storm mean that rainfalls in the hundreds of millimetres will have been registered throughout the region and will be continuing. This will certainly be causing flash flooding of many stream valleys and larger rivers. The situation in hill and mountain areas of Erromango and Tanna is of particular concern.

GOV, NDMO and Donors should now prepare themselves for needing to make widespread assessments across almost all of big islands Vanuatu in the following days. This may be difficult as Vila itself is now likely to be directly hit and experience serious damage. In addition to flash flooding, coastal flooding and wind damage can be expected at least in localised areas near the centre.

Banks Group
The Banks Group is now out of the main storm area. However, outer feeder band activity is possible. The whole group has had very heavy rains, very rough seas and increasingly severe winds for almost 48 hours. With the centre having slowly moved over Mere Lava, this outer island may be particularly hard hit. With the cyclone pulling away from this Group, assessments should be done of the areas to determine the degree of wind damage and flooding. Crops are likely badly affected in some areas.

Anuta and Tikopia, Solomons
Anuta and Tikopia are now out of the main area of the storm but are still subject to outer feeder bands. Light to moderate damage caused by tidal flooding of low-lying areas, crop damage and possibly some damage to unstable structures is expected given the nearly 48 hours of punishment by this storm. However, the overall damage will not be anywhere as bad as with Cyclone Zoe. However, the cumulative effects of 3 major cyclones in 14 months (Zoe, Gina and now Ivy) may well be wearing down the ability of the people and their environment and its resources to sustainably cope. NDMO and Donors should endeavour to make contact with the islands to assess both the immediate effects of Ivy and cumulative effects of the last 3 storms on the overall situation.

Torres Groups, Vanuatu and Santa Cruz Group, Solomons
Outer feeder bands with heavy rains and squalls are still possible over Vanikolo. Seas remain very rough. The Torres Group, Vanikolo and to a lesser extent Utupua have received very heavy rainfall from their proximity to this slow moving storm so some flooding may have occurred. They should be assessed later today. The remainder of the Group has likely only experienced minor coastal flooding, but contact to all the all the smaller outliers should be undertaken to verify this.

Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia
Inner feeder bands are now moving in and conditions should begin to deteriorate in the next 4-8 hours.

General Alert
Concerns in New Caledonia including the Loyalty Islands should continue to monitor this storm as it develops over the next few days. Feeder bands will begin moving into the Loyalties in the next few hours.

APCEDI will continue monitoring the event. More detailed information about the storm can be found on

Thanks to Job Esau, John Henry and Philip of the Vanuatu NDMO for all the information.

Kevin Vang
APCEDI Coordinator

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