Sturdy earthquakes, cyclones rattle Vanuatu

PORT VILA: Vanuatu was below a state of emergency Friday, after back-to-back earthquakes and cyclones struck the Pacific nation.

An preliminary 6.5-magnitude quake struck at 1804 GMT off the island of Espiritu Santo within the north of the archipelago at a depth of 10 kilometres, the US Geological Survey mentioned.

An aftershock with a magnitude of 5.4 rocked the island shortly after.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre mentioned there was “no tsunami risk” from the preliminary quake.

With Cyclone Kevin additionally raging, authorities spokesman Joe Harry Karu instructed AFP a state of emergency had been declared by the council of ministers.

Pacific Pink Cross spokesman Soneel Ram instructed AFP no casualties had to this point been reported.

When the earthquakes struck Friday, locals have been hunkering down as fierce winds from the cyclone tore roofs from buildings and uprooted timber.

Solely two days earlier, Cyclone Judy had lashed Vanuatu with winds as much as 200 kilometres (125 miles) per hour.

Torrential rain had flooded roads whereas electrical energy and communications are nonetheless affected throughout the island nation, residence to 320,000.

Dickinson Tevi, secretary basic of the Vanuatu Pink Cross Society, warned of the potential for important injury.

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“Folks on (Espiritu) Santo felt the earthquake, however couldn’t go exterior to evaluate the injury due to the excessive winds,” Tevi instructed AFP from the capital Port Vila.

“They instructed me they didn’t sleep properly because the earthquake hit once they have been already awake from the cyclone.”

He mentioned components of Port Vila have been with out energy for 2 days.
“As soon as the winds have died, we’ll assess the scenario, however there may be more likely to be important injury as Cyclone Judy had already broken many buildings.”

In January, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake additionally struck off Espiritu Santo, sending villagers fleeing to larger floor however inflicting no main injury.

Vanuatu is within the Pacific “Ring of Fireplace”, the place tectonic plates collide, and experiences frequent seismic and volcanic exercise.

It’s ranked as one of many international locations most prone to pure disasters like earthquakes, storm injury, flooding and tsunamis, in response to the annual World Threat Report.