Schools in Shefa will close doors starting today as the province is expected to be issued with blue alert in the next 24 hours. This photograph shows a flooded community on Vanualava in Torba Province as a result of cyclone Donna Photo: Erick Shadrack (Sola)

By Anita Roberts

All schools in Shefa Province are advised by the Ministry of Education to close their doors today (Monday) until further notice.

The Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) said following close monitoring of the cyclone’s movement, the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) will likely raise the blue alert status for Shefa in the next 24 hours.

All schools in the provinces of Torba, Penama, Sanma and Malampa must remain closed until NDMO says it is safe, the MOET has advised.

The Ministry of Education has advised schools in Tafea Province to monitor closely the movement of the cyclone and to be ready to close their doors upon advise from the National Disaster Management Office.

With that, the MOET declared it has reactivated its emergency unit.

The emergency centre operates from 8am to 5pm every day.

It is on standby to receive and respond to any reports on damage by cyclone Donna.

People in the affected provinces wanting to report damage or loss of school property should contact the emergency centre on landline 33505 or 33506.

School heads are instructed to contact Principal Education Officers (PEOs) concerning school safety issues or damage to facilities.

So far the MOET, through its emergency unit, said it has received reports that there are some damage to schools in Torba Province.

No contacts in Torres and other islands in the Banks Group can be reached at the moment due to mobile phone network problem.

The PEOs of Penama, Sanma and Torba are working together to check on schools. Additional information will be made available.

According to the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) another school that also received damage is Robin School at Loh. Two of its buildings, a dormitory, dining hall and two tanks were destroyed.

Apart from the MOET, it is understood that other sector clusters are up preparing to address the needs of affected communities.

The ministry of agriculture for example, is responsible for the coordination of food security in disaster events. The impacts of cyclone Donna on agriculture is on vulnerable crops like banana, manioc, including kava. Of course, fisheries and livestock are also affected.

Meanwhile, a source at Torba said the province may face food shortage following the cyclone.

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