March 19th, 2015
On March 14, 2015, the Republic of Vanuatu, an archipelago consisting of approximately 82 islands, which lies in the Pacific Ring of Fire between New Caledonia and Fiji in the South Pacific, was hit by a category five cyclone and sustained severe damages. We thought it would be helpful to share some facts about the Republic of Vanuatu. [Note: If you are interested to help with Vanuatu’s disaster relief, please refer to this link for a list of relief organizations “How You Can Help with Vanuatu’s Disaster Relief”]
1. Vanuatu means “Land Eternal.
2. Population as of July 2014 est. 266,937
3. The capital of Vanuatu is Port-Vila with a population of 47,000
Image: Flag of Vanuatu (The ‘Y’ in the flag signifies the chain of islands of the country.)
4. The country grained independence from France and UK on July 30, 1980. Its government is Parliamentary Republic.
5. During World War II the U.S. launched attacks from here against Japanese troops in the Solomon Islands and New Guinea, inspiring James Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific.
6. The official languages are Bislama, English, French and more than 100 local languages.. Pidgin is one of the languages spoken on the islands.
7. 65% of the population depends on agriculture which includes copra, coconuts, coffee, cacao and fish. Off shore financial services and tourism constitutes the remainder of Vanuatu’s economy. Copra, beef, cacao, timber, kava.
8. Vanuatu’s natural resources include: manganese, hardwood forests, and fish.
9. Christianity is the main religion followed in Vanuatu.
10. The traditional drink of Vanuatu is kava, which is made from the roots of piper methysticum.
Traditional set-up for kava drining (photo credit: Tracy Moreno)
11. Literacy: 83.2%
12. 5% of GDP is spent on education (2009)
13. Primary education is available for almost all children except in a few remote tribal areas. Education is provided in either English or French.
14. Full secondary education is provided by the Anglophone Malapoa College and the French Lycée at Port-Vila; limited secondary education is also available in five English post-primary schools and three French mission schools.
15. For postsecondary education, especially medical and technical training, selected students go principally to Fiji, Australia, and New Zealand.
16. The national dish of Vanuatu is ‘lap – lap’, which can be either savory or sweet. It is made from a vegetable porridge, cooked in coconut milk.(See more at: Facts About Vanuatu)
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