Pacific Islands struck by deadly Tropical Cyclone Harrold, amid of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Pacific Islands face battle on two fronts: Cyclone Harold and coronavirus
Extreme Tropical Cyclone Harold lashed several islands nations in the Pacific region, killing dozens of people; flooding towns, destroying critical infrastructures and leaving many homeless. The Category five Cyclone, with winds reaching up to 250km/hr embarked on a devastating path across Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga (from 2 to 10 April). All this happened as the Pacific islands, and countries worldwide struggle to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The Covid pandemics no doubt adds a worrying dimension to the already existing climate-related vulnerabilities of the Island States. Some 27 people from the Solomon Islands have perished during the cyclone, while fleeing the likely breakout of the Covid-19. Organising urgent humanitarian relief supplies under strict quarantine conditions has proved to be an extremely challenging endeavour.
In the article below, Professor Elisabeth Holland, who is the Norway-Pacific Chair in Oceans and Climate Change at the University of the South Pacific (USP) and the University of Bergen gives a detailed account of her first-hand exposure to this dual challenge for the Pacific islands: Cyclone Harold and Coronavirus