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.

Friday, February 27, 2004

APCEDI Alert 13P, Cyclone Ivy #18, 2004

Dear Colleagues

Alert 18, Cyclone Ivy 13P / 27 February 2004, Sydney 1700 EDT

Cyclone Ivy is moving out of Vanuatu Territory and into New Caledonian Territory this evening. Again it seems to have strengthened from recent photos and data into a Category 3 storm. APCEDI has received much information today from across Vanuatu, and been trying to compile all of it. Kay aspects of the information include:

1. RADIO VANUATU—Radio Vanuatu has been off the air since yesterday night (nearly 24 hours), and communities across the islands are desperate to get information back up so they no what’s happening and what to do. Repairing Radio Vanuatu as soon as possible so it can broadcast is of utmost importance and should be focused on by donors.

2. OVERALL DAMAGE—Damage throughout Vanuatu can be best classified as Widespread Moderate which indicates lots of trees down, gardens damaged, insecure structures fallen down, landslides, widespread electricity and phone outages. However, isolated pockets of severe damage are being increasingly reported. Severe Damage refers to widespread destruction of houses, community buildings and crops. Unconfirmed reports speak of Ambrym, South Pentecost and Ambae as areas of particular damage to houses, schools and churches, and contact is still out with the many areas including in the Southern Islands. These pockets of severe damage need to be identified and dealt with quickly. Australia, NZ and France aid agencies are working closely with the Vanuatu Government in this effort.

One woman has been confirmed dead by NDMO from a landslide near Lamap. All other people have been accounted for in this landslide incident.

According to NDMO 2 Taiwanese fishing boats have been sunk and are leaking oil and many other small boats sunk in and around the wharf. These leaks should be assessed and contained as soon as possible if significant.

Ivy, appears to again strengthened to a Category 3 storm as it leaves Vanuatu. A nicely formed large eye is evident between Anatom and Mare Island, New Caledonia. Anatom is just moving out of the eastern part of the eyewall although both it and Tanna remain under deep convection. Erromango is still experiencing intermittent gales and torrential rains. The rest of country has intermittent light to moderate shower activity with isolated strong winds and breezy conditions.

Most predictive models continue to forecast Ivy tracking southeasterly across the isolated Caledonian outliers of Walpole, Matthew and Hunter Islands. It will then continue southeast with a possible direct hit on the North Island of New Zealand. As such, the APCEDI warnings will continue for Southern Vanuatu from the Erromango south. Since APCEDI does not work in New Caledonia, we will not be issuing alerts but people in Loyalties and eastern outliers should take preparations and monitor the storm tonight and tomorrow.

The current situation is summarised as follows:

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

Intermittent Damaging Gales and and Torrential Rains (moving away)
New Caledonia
Loyalty Islands (particularly Mare)

Damaging Category 2-3 Eyewall-strength Winds and Torrential Rains in next 6-12 hours
New Caledonia
Hunter, Matthew and Walpole Islands

Intermittent Squalls and Heavy Rain associated with Feeder Bands ( moving away)
Shepherds Group

Given the Category 2-3 nature of the storm, damage overall at this time should be widespread moderate to locally severe for Tanna and Anatom. The danger from flash-flooding for the Southern Islands remains extremely high as the storm creeps so slowly away from Vanuatu. 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. 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
The core area of deepest convection has recently moved south of Efate although they will continue with intermittent squalls with torrential rains and winds for a few more hours. NDMO is reporting widespread moderate to localised severe damage in Vila as follows:
Radio Vanuatu off the air for 24 hours
trees down blocking roads (many now removed but many remaining in outer areas of capital
power lines and poles down
many small boats/yachts sunk on the wharf and several washed up on beaches
two fishing boat capsized near the main wharf with a resulting oil spill
2000 people in evacuation shelters at the height of the storm (most all returned home now)
power off in parts of Vila (particularly in outer parts) but on in other parts (on in city centre).
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.
Pentecost-Many homes damaged in the southern part of the island
Ambae-(radio contact)-many houses damaged.
Ambrym-(telephone contact with west)-school severely damaged, many houses damaged.

Torrential rains and damaging Category 2-3 winds pounded all the Northern and Central Islands for 2 days. Only intermittent showers remain over the Northern Islands. Epi, the Shepherds and Efate are also out of the main core area but intermittent winds and rains will still continue over this area. The slow moving nature of the storm means that rainfalls in the hundreds of millimetres will have been registered throughout the nation. Flooding from intermittent showers is still possible as all rivers and streams are running high.

Larger Southern Vanuatu Islands
Ivy’s centre is passing to the southwest of Anatom as it exits the country. Widespread moderate to locally severe damage can be expected on Erromango, Tanna and Anatom. The slow moving nature of the storm mean that rainfalls in the hundreds of millimetres will have been registered throughout these islands and will be continuing. This could 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 will be difficult as Vila itself has been hit and suffered at least widespread moderate to locally severe 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. 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. 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
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.

New Caledonia
The core convection area has moved over the Group, but with the increasingly southeasterly track, these islands and the main island of Grande Terre will likely be spared a direct hit although light to locally moderate damage is possible in the Loyalties. The eastern outliers of Hunter, Matthew and Walpole Islands will be heavily impacted tonight and into tomorrow

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

Australian Foundation for the Peoples of Asia and the Pacific Click here for our email, phone and address details Click here for AFAP's privacy policy
© 2004 AFAP

Powered by Blogger