‘A Night Of Terror’
A Suva-based United Nations agency worker in Vanuatu, when Tropical Cyclone Pam hit, yesterday described her experience “as a night of terror.”
Alice Clements of the International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) was in her Melanesian Hotel room when the full fury of Cyclone Pam hit the capital, Port Vila, last Friday night.
Ms Clements said the door to her hotel room was blown away by powerful winds.
“At around 8.30pm the wind got stronger and at midnight it was incredibly stronger with the winds howling around the houses and trees falling and roofs flying,” Ms Clements said.
“It was scary. I was in my hotel room when the strong winds blew off the sliding glass door to my room and I ran to hide under my bathroom sink inside the hotel.”
“I was hiding under there from midnight until around 6am. I was terrified and terribly scared. I have worked in dangerous countries and have gone through scary situations but this one was the worst and scariest of all.
“This was not only a night of terror for me but the nation as a whole.”
She said fortunately the hotel was strong enough to withstand the impact of the cyclone, however, the destruction done showed how severe the cyclone was.
“This is said to be the second most powerful cyclone that has hit the Pacific.”
“When the sun came up, I was pleased to see it because when I went through what happened during the cyclone all I was thinking about were those families who did not have proper shelters.”
“We cannot go around in the cars because the roads are still blocked by fallen trees.”
Ms Clements said there were still unconfirmed death reports and injuries, however there had been a lot of people requesting for medical assistance.
Ms Clements left Fiji last Tuesday as part of a deployment by UNICEF to Vanuatu to support preparations for, and response after Cyclone Pam.