Foreign Affairs trying to contact 29 Canadians in cyclone-hit areas of Vanuatu

Damage to houses in Port Vila, Vanuatu is seen from the air in the aftermath of Cyclone Pam Monday, March 16, 2015. Vanuatu’s President Baldwin Lonsdale said Monday that the cyclone that hammered the tiny South Pacific archipelago over the weekend was a “monster” that has destroyed or damaged 90 percent of the buildings in the capital and has forced the nation to start anew. (AP Photo/Dave Hunt, Pool)

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - The Department of Foreign Affairs says it’s believed 29 Canadian citizens are in areas of the South Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu that have been affected by cyclone Pam.

The United Nations says that 24 people are confirmed dead and 3,300 have been displaced by the cyclone.

The UN says radio and telephone communications with outer islands have not yet been established two days after what the country’s president called a “monster” storm.

Foreign Affairs says its office in Canberra, Australia and the Australian High Commission in Port Vila are providing assistance to Canadian citizens in Vanuatu affected by the storm.

Those bodies and the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa have been attempting to reach Canadians known to be in the region, and Foreign Affairs says consular officials in Canberra will continue those efforts.

The UN says basic emergency rations are being provided to evacuees, sheltering in 37 evacuation centres on the main island of Efate and in the provinces of Torba and Penama.

The damaged airport in Port Vila has reopened, allowing some aid and relief flights to reach the country.

Friends and relatives concerned about Canadian citizens they believe to be in the affected area should contact Foreign Affairs.

- With files from The Associated Press

© The Canadian Press, 2015

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