March 16, 2015 3:21 pm

At least 29 Canadians in Vanuatu during Cyclone Pam: gov’t

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WATCH: Three days after Cyclone Pam swept through Vanuatu the true horror of its destruction is only now becoming clear. Aid workers are starting to arrive, and say it’s the ‘worst’ storm the country’s seen in living memory. 

At least 29 Canadian citizens were in Vanuatu when Tropical Cyclone Pam hit the South Pacific island chain on Saturday and may have been affected by the Category 5 storm, the Dept. of Foreign Affairs said on Monday.

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Pam had maximum sustained winds reaching 270 km/h, making it the strongest storm to hit land since Typhoon Haiyan devastated parts of the Philippines in 2013.

READ MORE: Cyclone Pam devastates South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu

“Our office in Canberra, Australia and the Australian High Commission in [Vanuatu’s capital] Port Vila are providing assistance to Canadian citizens in Vanuatu affected by cyclone Pam,” spokesperson Caitlin Workman said in an email to Global News.

The Canadian High Commission in Canberra is working with the Australian High Commission in Port Vila to reach out to Canadians citizens still in the country, Workman added.

At least 24 people have been confirmed dead in the wake of the storm, but that number could grow as aid crews reach more remote areas of the archipelago.

PHOTO GALLERY: 9 photos of the devastation in Vanuatu by Tropical Cyclone Pam

Pam caused widespread devastation to communities throughout the country. Early estimates suggest as many as 90 per cent of homes and buildings in the country suffered damage or were destroyed as the cyclone bore down on the islands.

The Dept. of Foreign Affairs said Canadian citizens in Vanuatu requiring emergency consular assistance should contact the High Commission of Canada in Australia by calling +61 2 6270 4000 or Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada’s 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre by calling +1 613 996 8885 (collect calls are accepted where available).

Friends and relatives in Canada who are concerned about Canadian citizens they believe to be in the affected area should contact Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada’s 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre by calling 1-800-387-3124 (toll-free) or 613-996-8885 (collect calls are accepted) or sending an email to sos@international.gc.ca.

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