Preparing to give birth was scary enough for first-time mother Julie Jeffet, but delivering during a cyclone was simply terrifying.
When Pam’s wind and rain arrived in the small village of Imai, so too did the labour pains. Julie and her husband Amon were forced to flee their humble bamboo home. It was levelled in the wind and the couple sought shelter in other homes before reaching the nearby dispensary where she gave birth to a healthy baby girl.
“I think she’s a very special baby,” Ms Jeffet said.
The circumstances of her birth were frightening but according to father Amon it made naming the infant easy.
“I've never seen cyclone so, ‘Pam’,” he said.
Simply surviving was enough for mother Julie.
“When the cyclone start I'm afraid but when Pamela born I feel happy 'cause she born safely,” she said.
Fortunately, the couple implemented disaster preparedness training delivered by CARE International aid worker Julia Laidlaw just days before Cyclone Pam hit.
“We were very worried so I was delighted when I saw on the CARE website that Julie had given birth to a baby girl who they called Pamela,” Ms Laidlaw said.
Marie Napaut and her baby which was born during cyclone Pam. (SBS) Source: y
About an hour's drive away in central Tanna, Marie Napaut cradles her baby also born as Pam's fury struck the small island.
Marie made almost made it to a dispensary, getting as far as the front lawn where she gave birth.
“The baby started to come and I'm crying out for help,” she said. “Only my mother give the clothes and cover the baby and the wind came and blew both of us. I try stand up but I feel so tired.”
Eventually, mother and baby made it home safely, and in keeping with tradition, the infant was christened Pam.