Vanuatu residents 'exhausted' after being battered by two cyclones in three days

Ni-Vanuatu residents have emerged battered but still standing after Cyclone Kevin swiped the country with a strong backhand.

"It was quite exhausting. Dealing with two cyclones in three days is pretty draining, you know," Vanuatu journalist Dan McGarry told RNZ.

He said the gale-force winds have been rough. He woke early on Saturday morning to try and get a sense of the extent of the damage.

He went outside in the dark to charge his phone, and when the sun came up it was a real eyesore.

"Our own laneway is blocked off. We've got tree limbs all the way up and down," he said.

After clearing the way, he was able to get out and about and have a look around.

Port Vila had been badly knocked about. McGarry came across a mango tree that landed directly on top of a minibus.

"And then the wind lifted the entire tree and dumped it a metre-and-a-half away," he said.

Foreign aid needed

Vanuatu needs support from its international partners.

"There is going to be a significant need - this is not something Vanuatu can do alone, so the assistance of these partners is going to be critical to a speedy and effective response," McGarry said.

He believed cooperation from donor partners was needed. France has already received a request to send a patrol plane, he said.

"I expect that New Zealand would be putting a P3 in the air before very long. Australia has already committed to sending a rapid assessment team."

Stephen Meke, tropical cyclone forecaster with the Fiji Meteorological Service, said cyclone response teams and aid workers wanting to help should plan to travel to Vanuatu from Sunday onwards, as the weather system is forecast to lose momentum then.

"Kevin intensified into a category four system," Meke said. "It was very close to just passing over Tanna. So it's expected to continue diving southeastwards as a category four, then the weakening from from tomorrow onwards."

A UNICEF spokesperson said its team is preparing to ship essential emergency supplies from Fiji, in addition to emergency supplies already prepositioned in Vanuatu.

"These include tents, tarpaulins, education, and health supplies to support immediate response needs in the aftermath of the two devastating cyclones."

On Saturday, Tafea province was still under red alert.

Parts of Vanuatu have plunged into a six-month-long state of emergency.

Evacuations in Port Vila

The Fiji Meteorological Office said Port Vila experienced the full force of Kevin's winds. Evacuations took place in the capital.

McGarry said he knew of one family that had to escape their property and shelter at a separate home.

"The entire group spent the entire night standing in the middle of the room because the place is just drenched with water.

"So it's been an uncomfortable night for many, and possibly quite a dangerous one for some."