The cyclone that just hit Vanuatu was the earliest Southern Hemisphere category 5 ever recorded

Severe Tropical Cyclone Lola, which ripped across Vanuatu this week leaving significant damage in its wake, has become the earliest category 5 system on record for the Southern Hemisphere.

Vanuatu cyclone Lola upgraded to category five as tropical storm season starts early in the Pacific Islands

The Vanuatu Meteorology Department upgraded the cyclone to category 5 on Tuesday morning, with the slow-moving storm hovering over the north of the country, about 250km northeast of the capital Port Vila. 

It estimates winds of up to 215kph at the centre of the storm, with "destructive hurricane force" winds of up to 165 kph expected to hit multiple provinces in the country's north and central provinces.

PNG wood carver honoured

A majestic totem, meticulously carved by Kauwi, will soon find its place on the façade of the Melanesian Spearhead Secretariat (MSG) head office in Port Vila.

This momentous project is part of the ongoing 7th Melanesian Arts and Culture Festival, where wood carvers from various Melanesian Island States, including Fiji, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, and Vanuatu itself, are also actively engaged in crafting their respective totems for display.

Culture enriched at Vanuatu festival

In an awe-inspiring ceremony at the Saralana festival arena, starting as early as 5 am, the Tumbuans purified the grounds before showcasing their rich cultural heritage through mesmerizing songs and dances.

Led by Minister for Tourism Arts and Culture, Isi Henry Leonard, the WNB performers took centre stage in a captivating procession.

Minister Leonard emphasized the uniqueness and significance of Melanesian cultural heritage, urging everyone to cherish, protect, and promote it for future generations.

T20 World Cup quest continues

Kumul Petroleum Holdings Ltd (KPHL) PNG Barramundis and Japan registered two wins each against fellow counterparts, Philippines and Vanuatu, who have yet to win a match. Both teams will be up to grab a win against each other.

With their chances of leading the race into second round of matches of the tournament, PNG and Japan will prove their credentials on the pitch today, to see who is worthy of representing the East Asia Pacific region in the T20 World Cup this October in India.

PNG Cultural Envoys' Arrival

The contingent led by the Minister for Tourism, Arts, and Culture, Isi Henry Leonard, received a warm and enthusiastic welcome from the PNG community residing in Vanuatu.

The purpose of their visit was to participate in the 7th Melanesian Arts and Cultural Festival, held in Port Vila, where they showcased Papua New Guinea's rich and diverse cultural heritage.

The delegation comprised traditional dancers, artists, musicians, and creative performers, along with creative arts students from the University of Papua New Guinea.

Barramundis win first qualifier match

Vanuatu had won the toss and elected to bowl first.

However, PNG bowlers made their presence known with home ground advantage, bowling out the visitors for a paltry 71 runs in their 20 overs with eight wickets down. Vanuatu batters regularly lost wickets and struggled to score runs.

The best of PNG bowlers, John Noel Kariko (3/6 in 4 overs), was supported by Charles Amini (2/10), Norman Vanua (2/13) and Alei Nao (1/23).

The PNG batsmen chased a modest total made easy, cruising past their target one wicket down (1/75) in 6 overs.

PM assures support to disaster struck areas

On Sunday, PM Marape offered sympathies to the people of Vanuatu and said Papua New Guinea stands ready to assist its Melanesian brother regain its footing after natural disasters hit the island nation beginning Friday last week.

Tropical cyclone hits Vanuatu Capital

Hundreds of people remained in emergency evacuation centres in the capital Port Vila as Tropical Cyclone Kevin brought destructive winds and heavy rainfall.

The Fiji Meteorology Service said wind gusts reached up to 230 kilometres an hour in the early morning hours.

No casualties were immediately reported but a number of properties were flattened and many homes and businesses reported power outages.

The cyclone built to a category four on Saturday as it passed the capital and travelled south-east.

Vanuatu hit by strong winds and heavy rain as Cyclone Judy hits Port Vila

Key points:

  • Cyclone Judy is packing wind gusts of up to 200kph
  • Dangerous swell conditions, heavy rainfall and flash flooding are expected
  • The cyclone is expected to move away from Vanuatu on Thursday

The category three storm hit the capital Port Vila this morning (Wednesday), with residents reporting minor damage so far.

Schools and businesses are closed and Air Vanuatu has cancelled all domestic and international flights, with flights expected to resume on Thursday.