Tuvalu. In mid-March, Tuvalu was hit by tropical cyclone Pam. Several of the low atolls that make up the country were flooded by high waves, one of them altogether, forcing the entire population to leave the island. According to COUNTRYAAH, Vaiaku is the capital of Tuvalu which is located in Polynesia. Disaster status was announced. Both agriculture and infrastructure were damaged and drinking water was polluted on several of the islands. According to Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga, 45% of the population had their homes destroyed. Later that month, elections were held to Parliament, which has 15 members. The election had been postponed due to the natural disaster that hit the country. Only independent members are allowed to stand because no party system exists. Several of the candidates, including Prime Minister Sopoaga, lacked opponents. Consequently, Sopoaga was allowed to remain as head of government.
- Also see AbbreviationFinder.org for Tuvalu country abbreviations, including geography, history, economy and politics.
In August, eight female medical students graduated from the University of Medical Sciences in Cuba. After completing studies, the doctors would return to their home country.
In September, the World Bank announced that it had allocated Tuvalu $ 3 million to be used for reconstruction after the tropical cyclone in March.
POPULATION AND ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
The population, according to official estimates, in 1998 was 11,000. The natural demographic increase, still quite sustained, and the scarce employment opportunities offered by the country continue to fuel substantial migratory flows directed above all to the phosphate mines of Nauru (which is also soon to be disposed of) and neighboring Kiribati.
According to United Nations data, Tuvalu is one of the least developed countries in Oceania, heavily dependent on international aid (particularly from Great Britain) and on emigrant remittances. Economic growth is seriously compromised by adverse climatic factors, the inadequacy of transport and communication infrastructures, the large external debt and the dependence on foreign countries for the purchase of many essential goods. Coconut palm monoculture makes the country particularly vulnerable to fluctuations in copra prices on international markets. The GDP recorded an annual increase of 3, 9 % in 1990 – 94. Crops, with the exception of palm, are mainly subsistence: tropical fruits, vegetables, legumes are produced. The resources of the sea are of considerable interest: in addition to fish, coral reefs and deposits of precious minerals, which were discovered in 1991 east of the Niulakita atoll and which have been used for some years. The industry is completely marginal, with the exception of small textile and food companies. The largest proceeds come from philatelic issues for collectors, although this activity has been significantly downsized in recent years. The state remains the largest employer, providing employment for nearly 50% of the active population. Due to poor accessibility and lack of infrastructure, tourism development appears to be rather modest. It was only in 1994, with Thai capital, that the construction of some accommodation facilities began; the creation of regional air links with Kiribati, Nauru and the Marshall Islands is also planned.