A Fish 2.0 workshop in Fiji last month to explore ways to develop the South Pacific’s fishing industry was interrupted by a staggering object lesson: the devastation of Vanuatu by Super Cyclone Pam.
For workshop participants, who also came from Tuvalu, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, the crushing impact of Pam underlined the need for resilience against the interrelated impacts of climate change, poverty and diminishing natural resources. Participants from Vanuatu, unable to return home, anxiously watched news reports.
The super cyclone flattened 90 percent of the buildings in Vanuatu’s capital of Port Vila, destroyed water, electric and communication infrastructure and ripped out crops. The offshore reef may take decades to recover its ecological and economic vitality. Boats and seafood processing facilities were swept out to sea with the storm.