Cyclone Pam Slows Down As It Hits Some Parts Of New Zealand: Storm To Cause Flooding And Strong Winds

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Cyclone Pam
IN PHOTO: Cyclone Pam bears down on Vanuatu in this image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite taken at 1:30 p.m. local time (2:20 GMT) March 13, 2015. Not long after the image was acquired, the storm struck the island of Efate, which is home to Vanuatu's capital city, Port Vila. Winds of up to 250 kilometres an hour (155 mph) ripped metal roofs off houses and downed trees in the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu on Saturday, as relief agencies braced for a major rescue operation and unconfirmed reports said dozens had already died. Reuters

Cyclone Pam has reached New Zealand after leaving destruction in its wake in Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu. The cyclone has slowed down as it hit New Zealand’s northern and eastern extremities.

3News reports that as of Mar. 15, six people were confirmed dead in Vanuatu. According to the United Nations, there were still unconfirmed reports of 44 deaths in one of the provinces in the country.

As Cyclone Pam approached New Zealand, the fire service has deployed its crews to coastal areas affected by the Category Four storm. The MetService said southeast winds were building up in the east coast of Auckland and Northland.

Clive Manley, Auckland Council civil defence controller, said the northeast coast of Auckland and the Great Barrier Island are expected to experience severe weather. He added that the areas north of Whangaparaoa and the Great Barrier have a good chance of flooding due to overflow from rivers and streams.

Weatherwatch said the eye of storm will be moving further east, avoiding major damage to Auckland, the country’s largest city. East Cape, eastern Bay of Plenty, Gisborne and the northern part of Hawke’s Bay which may be hit with destructive winds.

Civil Defence Minister Nikki Kaye remarked that the cyclone will not have the same intensity it had when it hit Vanuatu. However, she said people in affected areas should prepare for the arrival of the severe storm.

Meanwhile, the storm may have moved out of Vanuatu but Cyclone Pam has left devastation in the islands of Vanuatu. Aid workers in the area describe the damage in Port Vila as “extensive.” The Red Cross said thousands of people need food, water and shelter.

Red Cross in the Pacific head Aurelia Balpe said many homes were lost and crops were destroyed. She added that it will still take more time to assess the extent of the damage. Cyclone Pam had flattened houses and caused damage on key infrastructures, CNN reports.

Helen Szoke, executive director in Australia for the aid group Oxfam, said the storm is “one of the worse disasters ever seen in the Pacific.” Oxfam remarked that at least 90 percent of the housing in Port Vila were nearly wiped out while parts of hospitals were flooded. UNICEF revealed that about 60,000 children are in need of assistance.

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