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Cyclone Pam Rips Through Vanuatu, 44 Feared Dead

© REUTERS / UNICEF Pacific/Handout via ReutersLocal residents look at damaged boats against a jetty in Port Vila, the capital city of the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu March 14, 2015
Local residents look at damaged boats against a jetty in Port Vila, the capital city of the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu March 14, 2015 - Sputnik International
Tropical Cyclone Pam has devastated the small Pacific nation of Vanuatu, causing "unbelievable destruction" in Vanuatu's capital Port Vila.

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The tiny Pacific nation of Vanuatu has been hit by Tropical Cyclone Pam, which caused "unbelievable destruction" in Vanuatu's capital Port Vila, according to the Australian Red Cross.

"Humanitarian needs will be enormous. Many people have lost their homes. Shelter, food and water are urgent priorities in Port Vila," the Red Cross twittered on Saturday.

Earlier in the day, the Vanuatu Meteorological Services said that "very destructive hurricane force winds" of 155 mile per hour (250 kilometers per hour) will rip through Shefa and Tafea provinces, while several others will face "very rough to phenomenal seas with heavy swells."

It added that the cyclone caused flash floods, knocking out telephone service  all across Vanuatu.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii, has, in turn, reported that Cyclone Pam had weakened from the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane to a Category 4.

Meanwhile, the United Nations has said that it was preparing an rapid emergency response in Vanuatu.

At the same time, the United Nations said that it feared continued bad weather could prevent aid teams from deploying.

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The UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said that there were unconfirmed reports that 44 people had died in the country's northeaster Penama province.

"Vanuatu is a very vulnerable place because of its location in the middle of the ocean. It's possible that there will be a death toll that could be high." the regional head of UNOCHA said.

Apart from Vanuatu, Cyclone Pam has also affected other Pacific nations, such as the Solomon Islands and Kiribati, where several homes were reportedly destroyed.

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