Some of you have contacted us concerning the reported earthquakes yesterday in Vanuatu. Thank you for your concern. According to the USGS website in just over 24 hours there have been 14 significant earthquakes hit the area between the northern islands of Vanuatu and the Santa Cruz Islands. The largest earthquake registered at 7.8 and the least at 4.1. There were probably many smaller after shocks but those will not show on that list. A Tsunami warning was issued but two hours later it was cancelled.
Our missionary colleagues, Bryan and Renee Webb, live on the island of Santo, about 175 miles from the epicenter. We have heard from them and they are well. They felt five strong earthquakes in Santo. No one was hurt from the earthquakes as there are few buildings built over one storey. The newly built concrete mission house was not damaged and the local built huts are flexible enough to sway but rarely fall down from an earthquake. A tsunami wave would have caused severe damage but this did not materialize. Our medical missionary colleagues, Priscilla and Gary Ross live in a remote bush area of Santo and they are also fine.
Port Vila where Joy Bible Institute is located is about 600 miles farther south from the earthquakes’ epicenter. We have not received news from them yet but do not expect any severe damage reports. Though the number of strong earthquakes in such a short time is unsettling.
Thank you for continuing to pray for Vanuatu. Last week our missionary colleagues in the Pacific island nations of Samoa and American Samoa experienced a powerful 8.0 earthquake and the devastation of two tsunami waves. Villages were flatten and 170 people drowned. Pray for the missionaries, pastors and Bible students as they help during this difficult time in Samoa.