Cyclone Pam Rips Through Pacific Islands

The latest in a series of increasingly regular and severe tropical storms has ripped through the Pacific leaving a path strewn with damaged buildings and casualties.

Cyclone Pam’s 210 mph winds have ripped through flimsy shacks after carving a path of destruction across the islands of Fiji, New Guinea and Vanuatu.

Unconfirmed reports put the death toll across the three island groups at more than 50, but a lack of communications and the remoteness of some islands mean an accurate casualty list may take many days to compile.

Meanwhile, Pacific nations, such as Australia and New Zealand are mobilising emergency help.

Astonishing amateur video shows the storm smashing into Vanuatu, where many took to caves and high grounds to shelter from the winds and flooding.

Travel by sea and air around the region is severely disrupted while authorities clear runways and harbours of debris left by the storm.

Meanwhile, Cyclone Olwyn hit the west coast of Australia a few days earlier, leaving damaged buildings and uprooted trees and crops as heavy winds and rain lashed the region.

Meteorologists have downgraded the Olwyn to a tropical storm as the weather front shifts down the coast to drench the city of Perth.

Typhoid crisis

Health officials in Uganda have confirmed an outbreak of typhoid in the capital Kampala which has spread to 15 other districts.

Many of the victims work in markets around the city and other nearby towns.

Unconfirmed reports suggest doctors are treating more than 2,400 cases of the disease and that many casualties have died.

“The areas with the most suspected cases besides the capital are Bugiri, Bukwo and Kween, Eastern Uganda, Isingiro and Sembabule, South West Uganda, and Maracha in North West Uganda,” said a Uganda Health Ministry spokesman.

“We would advise tourists and expats to stay away from Uganda until this health crisis runs its course.”

Oil field deaths

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is warning expats and other visitors to leave Libya due to continuing fighting between warring factions battling for power in the country.

The fighting has spread to oil fields where many expats are located.

This week, eight oil workers were killed and nine expats were kidnapped from the Al Ghani oilfield, which is almost 500 miles south east of Tripoli.

“British nationals should leave as their security cannot be guaranteed,” said an FCO spokesman.

Find latest travel warnings

  • To check out the latest British government worldwide travel warnings, go to the FCO web site and select a country
  • The US government also issues regular travel warnings online
  • For ABTA travel information, visit their web site


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