Relief workers have been checking to see if the cyclone that ravaged Vanuatu the South Pacific archipelago has killed any Canadians. The fierce cyclone killed 11 or more people, displaced over 3,300 and destroyed a hospital.
Odo Tevi, the Vanuatu Ambassador to the UN, said that a few of the deaths were expats. He added that they might be Canadians, Kiwis or Australians.
The outer islands in the archipelago received widespread destruction and relief workers have been struggling to reach some of the hardest hits areas after Cyclone Pam barreled through on Saturday.
Some villages were wiped out completely said officials but no one has reached them as of yet.
A spokesperson for the Foreign Affairs Department said 29 Canadians were in Vanuatu at the time of the cyclone and were possibly affected by it.
At the same time, an anthropologist from Toronto who lived in Port Vila the capital for over two years said she had heard from friends in Vanuatu through social media that foreign aid is badly needed throughout the area.
Daniela Kraemer said during an interview that everyone she has corresponded with said it looks as if a bomb had hit the country.
She added that many were worried about starvation since most of the gardens had been ruined by the cyclone. Most people on the island are subsistence farmers, added the anthropologist. Aid, she said was needed to help rebuild the hospital in the capital, which was directly in the path of the cyclone.
One official said it appears the deaths had been confined to only those people who had been living on boats.
Rescue workers were carrying out aerial surveillance of outer islands, as communications have not yet been restored.
Military planes from Australia that carried out aerial assessments found substantial damage particularly on the island of Tanna, where it looks as if 80% of the homes and buildings are completely or at least partially destroyed.