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Tuvalu remembers destructive storm from 50 years ago

Fakaalofa lahi atu!

Today, Tuvalu marks 50 years since the islands were struck by a devastating category 3 cyclone.

Cyclone Bebe caused the deaths of 6 Tuvaluans and left hundreds homeless when it hit on October 21 in 1972.

A Tuvaluan official, Siose Teo, said in a speech at a state commemoration event in Funafuti that the country has now developed numerous disaster response and resilience programmes.

"Let us pray that there is no repetition of Hurricane Bebe. Let us learn from it and that Tuvalu be fully equipped to withstand the forces of nature through its climate disaster resilience programme."

Cyclones occur rarely in Tuvalu because of its proxmity to the equator, but the country of low lying islands is extremely vulnerable to flooding.

Teo also paid tribute to the generation which survived Bebe, "we are privileged to have amongst us, a handful of eyewitnesses to Hurricane Bebe in 1972, who have lived to tell their stories. The awareness of how drastic and damaging these cyclones can be, reminds us that Tuvalu has to be prepared to resist the storms of similar nature."

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