March 19, 2015 7:13 pm

Ottawa still trying to reach 9 Canadians affected by cyclone in Vanuatu

This handout image provided by UNICEF, shows residents contend with storm damage in Mele village on March 15, in Port Vila, Vanuatu. Cyclone Pam pounded South Pacific islands with hurricane force winds, huge ocean swells and flash flooding.

Handout/UNICEF via Getty Images

OTTAWA – The Department of Foreign Affairs says it is aware of 43 Canadians potentially affected by Cyclone Pam in the South Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu, but 34 have already left the area or don’t require help.

A Foreign Affairs spokeswoman says the remaining nine may also have left, and Canadian consular officials in Canberra, Australia will continue trying to reach them.

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The United Nations reported that 11 people were confirmed dead, lowering an earlier report of 24 casualties after realizing some of the victims had been counted more than once.

It also said 3,300 people have been displaced and are seeking shelter in dozens of evacuation centres on the main island of Efate and in the provinces of Torba and Penama.

Officials with the National Disaster Management Office said they had no accurate figures on how many were dead, and aid agencies reported varying numbers.

Vanuatu is made up of over 80 islands, and poor weather and communications issues have hampered relief workers’ efforts to reach the outer islands for days.

© 2015 The Canadian Press

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