World, Asia - Pacific, Environment

Strongest cyclone of 2020 hits Pacific Vanuatuan nation

Tropical cyclone makes landfall with winds of 215km/h on Monday, kills at least 27 people so far

Burak Bir   | 07.04.2020
Strongest cyclone of 2020 hits Pacific Vanuatuan nation File Photo


Cyclone Harold battering Vanuatu, a South Pacific Ocean nation, has been recorded as the most powerful weather event so far this year, according to a climate NGO on Tuesday.

"These already stressful situations, combined with the onslaught of a severe natural disaster, will no doubt create another layer of injustice towards already marginalized groups within our society," Fenton Lutunatabua, regional managing director of 350 Pacific, said in a statement.

The tropical cyclone -- which reached Category 5, the highest level -- made landfall in the Pacific nation of Vanuatu on Monday with winds of approximately 215km/h and has killed at least 27 people so far.

Pacific nations, which also faces COVID-19 outbreak impacts, now have to prepare for Cyclone Harold, exacerbated by the climate change which is a crisis that is not caused by Pacific countries, it stressed in the statement.

"As Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Fiji prepare for humanitarian response, we remember that both these crises highlight the inequality perpetuated by an economic system which puts profit over people and just how critical systems change is towards just recovery," Genevieve Jiva, coordinator of Pacific Islands Climate Action Network, said.

Reiterating the role of climate change in the extreme weather events, Christopher Bartlett, an independent climate expert in Vanuatu, highlighted that the cyclone is an outcome of the crime of climate change perpetrated against the Vanuatuan people by fossil fuel companies and the countries that support those corporations.

"The Pacific Islands are situated in a region with a multitude of natural disasters, which are becoming increasingly frequent and with far more devastating impacts as a direct result of increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere," he added.

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