Cyclone Pam update from Vanuatu Helicopters
March 18, 2015
Garden City Helicopters based in Christchurch New Zealand are the owners and operators of Vanuatu Helicopters who were first responders to the disaster relief effort after cyclone Pam left its devastating effect. Here is the latest update from our pilot in Vanuatu, Andy Martin.
“The Sheppard Island group, comprised of Emae, Epi, Makura, Mataso, Tongoa and Tongariki have been destroyed with very little left standing.
Efate has been heavily damaged also. The ring road on Efate is blocked and therefore the villages are all cut off with significant damage on the eastern and northern coast.
Islands Malekula, Santo, Ambae and Pentecost have suffered minimal damage in comparison to the above.
Ben our other pilot, has been to Erromango and Tanna. Both Islands have been hit very hard. The smaller Islands like Mystery Island, Futuna etc. down south Status unknown. At Tanna and Erromango the cyclone passed during day light hours, so people saw their buildings being blown away”.
“We have been contracted by the Vanuatu Government to work with them continuously for the next 2 weeks” said Mr Martin.
“There is 2 million litres of Jet A1 fuel in the country for all the aviation purposes. Super Yachts have offered to help as staging posts for our helicopters as at sea refueling depots. I have been in discussions with the Australian and NZ High Com in regards to the volunteers out on the islands to collect them. I have informed them of the disaster areas which we need to focus on first. Everyone says they are missing but it is just the lack of communications which has prevented them getting in contact”.
“Today we have flown antennas to two different sites for Digicel and TVL for communications to be up and running. Now we are flying sat phones out to different provinces. Later today we will be flying representatives in to the Sheppard Island groups to gather intelligence”.