Cyclone Pam

Cyclone Pam was expected to cause widespread damage to Gisborne and Hawkes Bay today. The cyclone was category 5 – the strongest – but it became weaker by the time it hit the north-east coast of New Zealand. There have been strong winds, high waves, heavy rain, loss of electricity, and damage to trees and houses in some places, but the storm was not as bad as expected.

However, Vanuatu, suffered terrible damage three days ago when Cyclone Pam was category 5. Vanuatu is a country of small islands in the Pacific Ocean, 3,000 km north of New Zealand and 1,000 km west of Fiji. It is a poor country where 80% of the people live in small, isolated villages. Communication is still difficult after the cyclone hit so it is not yet possible to know how many people lost their lives. However, planes have been able to fly over the islands and it is possible to see that many houses and crops have been destroyed.

In the capital, Port Vila, some reports say that 90% of the buildings were destroyed in cyclone. There is an urgent need for clean water, shelter for people without homes, and sanitation facilities to stop the spread of disease.

Many agricultural workers are in New Zealand on temporary work visas. They are worried because they cannot contact their families who live in isolated areas in Vanuatu.


• widespread – spread over a wide area
• isolated – a long way from other people
• crops –plants for food like coconuts
• shelter – tents, huts
• sanitation – toilet facilities, clean water for washing

Note this useful structure:
x was expected to happen but it didn’t.
The plane was expected to arrive at 1pm but it was late.
She was expected to win but she lost.

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