11 Mar. 2015
The central and southern islands of Vanuatu are highly likely to be impacted by Tropical Cyclone Pam. The Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department has now issued the Tropical Cyclone Warning Number 3 as of 4.13 pm local time. Damaging gale force winds of 75 KM/HR will start to affect SHEFA and TAFEA provinces within the next 24 to 36 hours. This means Emalus will begin experiencing rain and winds associated with the system within 24 to 36 hours. This cyclone is considered major and with potential of becoming a category 4 or 5 cyclone; the most destructive.
It is therefore crucial that we make ample preparations.
The campus and centers in Vanuatu will close normal operations and programmes on Thursday 12th and Friday 13th March.
Essential services personnel are required to attend work to assist with the emergency preparations on campus.
Students and staff are informed as follows:
- Staff are reminded to close windows and wrap all IT equipment in plastic (e.g. bin bags) and see that these are well away from windows. All shutters to be deployed and secured. Also lock all doors.
- We will as part of preparations be designating a number of rooms and buildings as evacuation shelters. Two classrooms and 3 offices, along with the gym will be prepared as evacuation shelters. Students will be assigned by blocks to these rooms. In a worst case scenario these Chinese funded newly built facilities would be the safest on campus. Please see this document (Word download) regarding shelter facilities.
- We are in the process of procuring some supplies for these shelters. These will include water, some food, stoves and gas, flash lights, first aid kit, etc. These would be emergency supplies only.
- Students are strongly requested to move to these evacuation shelters by the evening of Thursday 12th March. They will be required to bring their bedding and other necessities.
- We request all Residential Assistants (RA) to assist security and Campus Life staff to inform students about these requirements. RAs to also see that students are evacuated on time and to supervise the shelters. Note that all movements must be completed well in advance.
- We note that some of us may not be well versed with the destructive nature of cyclones and the importance of taking heed of advice, and making all necessary readiness. Students and staff are urged to set time aside to prepare for the cyclone. A Category 5 cyclone such as this will have sustained wind speeds of over 200 kph and if it directly hits Emalus, as it is predicted to, the situation will become very dangerous. It is critical that people do not leave it too late and have to try to move outside to the safe shelters in the dark under those conditions, hence the precaution to move by Thursday evening.
- The system is likely to cause major destruction to infrastructure and services may be severely restricted. You are requested to make personal preparations for a scenario where access to shops and food outlets may be restricted over the weekend and beyond.
- For communications purposes we have arranged with FM 107 and 96 Buzz FM to issue regular announcements about the closure of the university. We expect also that students not attempt to travel to campus when closed and during severe weather. Note also that the above 2 stations, among others would be airing the updates on the cyclone. See that you have a radio. Battery operated radios are better in case of disruption to electricity supply. Also, please see that you have your mobile phones charged and with adequate credit.