Thousands wait for relief in Vanuatu as death toll inches up

Published 8:15 am Friday, March 20, 2015

TANNA ISLAND, Vanuatu — Thousands of people left homeless by a fierce cyclone remained stuck in shelters across Vanuatu on Friday, waiting for relief and longing for a return to normalcy as the death toll from the disaster rose by two to 13.

Australian and French troops arrived on the South Pacific nation’s hard-hit island of Tanna, where shaken residents were waiting for help after their villages were flattened by Cyclone Pam’s 270-kilometer- (168-mile) per-hour winds last Saturday.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, citing figures from Vanuatu’s National Disaster Management Office, upgraded the number of confirmed deaths to 13 from 11.

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