Remote tribe that worshipped Prince Philip as a god threatened by cyclones

Contact with a remote tribe that worshipped the late Duke of Edinburgh and lives off the cyclone-hit island of Vanuatu has been severed amid rumours it could have been affected by the disaster. Fears are growing for the kastom tribes that live on Tanna Island, a two-and-a-half-hour flight south of mainland Vanuatu, after authorities were unable to contact them today. 

Glen Craig, chairman of the Vanuatu Business Resilience Council, told New Zealand’s Stuff news website the southern islands, including Tanna, remained cut off because communication lines are still down.

The cyclones, spiralling winds that rotate about a zone of low pressure, like a small tornado, have affected at least 80 percent of the Vanuatu community, according to local authorities. 

The country’s National Disaster Management Office said a large majority of the 320,000 population across the multiple Oceanic islands have been hit by the cyclones, including 125,500 children. 

They said many residents are without power, clean water or telecommunications. 

Mr Craig said there was a significant New Zealand community on the southern island of Tanna, adding that “many Kiwis in Vila are concerned about our friends and family on Tanna”. 

New Zealanders in Port Vila, the Vanuatu capital, also reported on Monday they had still not heard from family and friends from Tanna. 

Military rescue teams from Australia, New Zealand and France are rushing to Vanuatu, which was also hit by a 6.5 magnitude earthquake. 

There is concern that the 25-mile-long island of Tanna suffered the worst damage. 

READ MORE: Prince Philip tribute: Tribe who worshipped Duke as a God [INSIGHT]