Cyclone Lola: Pregnant woman among up to three people killed in Vanuatu

A pregnant woman and her unborn child are among up to three people killed in Vanuatu during a severe cyclone that ripped through and devastated parts of the small Pacific nation.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta said she was deeply saddened by reports of three fatalities in Vanuatu during Tropical Cyclone Lola, which was a category 5 strong cyclone at one point.

“Aotearoa New Zealand’s thoughts are with their whānau and friends,” she wrote online.

“We continue to work closely with our Pacific partners to support those affected.”

New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Vanuatu, Nicci Simmonds, told RNZ’s Morning Report she knew of two deaths on Ambrym Island, including a pregnant woman who could not get medical attention because the roads were out.

“She passed away with her unborn child,” Simmonds, who had visited the island, told the programme.

“There was also an elderly woman who the chiefs had implied had a stroke or a heart attack.”

Simmons described seeing traditional homes flattened and destroyed.

The cyclone left a trail of destruction when it bore down on Vanuatu last week and left significant damage in northern parts - including in Torba and Pentecost Province.