Cyclone Pam meets Tuvalu

  • 15 March 2015

It looks like storm surges from Cyclone Pam have done some significant damage in Tuvalu, including flooding, washing away infrastructure and crops, and displacing communities.  A state of emergency has been declared over the whole country, and there are news reports that as much as 45% of the country’s population has been displaced by the effects of the cyclone. News reports state that the outer islands have been hardest hit.

Most media reports are focusing on Cyclone Pam’s destructive hit on nearby Vanuatu, but being so low-lying, Tuvalu is precariously placed when tidal surges are caused by storms, even if the cyclone does not directly hit.  There is a report that one island was entirely flooded.

The best reports and photos of this damage to Tuvalu are coming from Fenui News, via its Facebook page.

Compare this photo of the road in the northern port of Fongafale atoll with the one below, which I took in a similar location on a much sunnier day in 2010.



The road along Fongafale Island, Funafuti Atoll, Tuvalu

The coast line should look something more like this on a happier day:

Pacific Ocean coast, Funafuti Atoll, Tuvalu

The Tuvaluan Prime Minister is reportedly saying that 45% of the Tuvaluan population has been displaced as a result of the storm:

Details of the state of emergency are reported in the Fenui News (retrieved via the Tuvalu Government’s page at the United Nations) here:


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