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Source: Save the Children

Category Five Tropical Cyclone Lola in Vanuatu has claimed at least two lives and caused widespread, severe damage to hundreds of homes, schools and food gardens in a country still reeling from the category four twin cyclones that devastated the country in March 2023.
Save the Children’s response to the devastation will include delivering shelter and hygiene kits to displaced people and setting up Child Friendly Spaces in evacuation centres. With at least 100 schools impacted, including 70 that have either been entirely destroyed or are in need of major repairs, Save the Children is also setting up temporary learning spaces, including for older students who are due to sit final exams in the coming weeks.
The most heavily impacted areas include Pentecost, Malekula and Ambrym, where it is estimated that 50% of all homes have been damaged. An estimated 50,000- 80,000 people have been significantly impacted, including 25,000 to 40,000 children. Two women, including a pregnant woman, have been reported killed in Ambrym.
TC Lola, the earliest Category Five cyclone on record in the southern hemisphere and only the seventh pre-season South Pacific cyclone since 1970, made landfall in the evening of 24 October with wind speeds of up to 215kph.
It follows back-to-back category 4 cyclones, which hit in March, impacted more than 80% of Vanuatu’s population of about 320,000 people, caused widespread destruction of homes, buildings, and food gardens and disrupted water, power, and telecommunication services.
Climate induced disasters disproportionately impact children and young people, particularly as a result of disruption to education and psychosocial trauma associated with ongoing experiences of intensifying disasters.
“We have experienced three terrifying cyclones this year, and it is not even November yet,” said Chloe, a 14-year-old from Vanuatu.
“For young people, especially those who have not already experienced cyclones, it can be very scary. You know a cyclone is coming and so you just have to sit there and wait for it. Seeing it come closer and closer can be a terrifying experience but it’s just how life is here, and we can’t escape that.
“One of the hardest things is not being able to contact your family and fri
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