Vanuatu. In March, tropical cyclone Pam crashed over the island. It reached wind speeds of up to 80 meters per second in wind gusts far above hurricane strength. The result was disastrous. A death figure of eleven killed later was recorded by the UN, which indicated the number of deaths to 16. According to COUNTRYAAH, Port-Vila is the capital of Vanuatu which is located in Melanesia. The material devastation was very extensive. Nearly 180,000 people, or about 70% of the population, lost their homes. In addition, other buildings, farms, infrastructure and fishing boats were destroyed. President Baldwin Lonsdale noted that several years of development work had been totally destroyed.
An agreement was signed in May, which means that Vanuatu’s citizens are allowed to spend shorter periods in EU countries without a visa.
In June, Prime Minister Joe Natuman dismissed Foreign Minister Sato Kilman. In his place, Kalvau Moli was appointed to the post. However, it was only a few days before a vote of no confidence in Parliament resulted in Natuman himself being deposed. Kilman was appointed new head of government, which was the fourth time he took office.
In October, the Supreme Court sentenced 14 MPs to prison for bribery. Deputy Prime Minister Moana Carcasse’s Kalosil was sentenced to four years in prison for bribing 13 politicians in the opposition. These, in turn, were sentenced to three years in prison. When President Lonsdale was overseas at the time, the Deputy President, Parliament Speaker Marcellino Pipite, took the opportunity to pardon himself and his 13 co-defendants. Lonsdale annulled the pardons when he returned to the country and was supported by the Supreme Court. The troubled political situation in November caused the president to dissolve parliament and announce new elections. The decision was appealed by opposition politicians and the matter had to be decided in court. In mid-December, a ruling in the Supreme Court confirmed that Parliament was dissolved. New elections were announced until January 2016.