The south Pacific nation of Vanuatu is an archipelago of more than 80 islands known for their tropical beauty, active volcanos and rural poverty
A fisherman paddles his outrigger canoe across Erakor Lagoon near Port Vila on August 2, 2010. Torsten Blackwood/AFP
SUVA, Fiji The south Pacific nation of Vanuatu hammered by Super Cyclone Pam is an archipelago of more than 80 islands known for their tropical beauty, active volcanos and rural poverty.
LOCATION: The archipelago stretches across about 800 kilometers (500 miles) of the South Pacific, closer to Australia than Hawaii. About 65 of the islands, which are mountainous and volcanic, are inhabited.
POPULATION: Approximately 267,000 according to 2014 figures, with 98 percent ethnic Ni-Vanuatu. The population is largely Christian, with the majority Protestant and 12 percent Roman Catholic. The capital Port Vila, on Efate island, has a population of about 45,000.
ECONOMY: Largely rural. As much as 80% of the population is involved in small-scale farming. Fishing, offshore banking and tourism are the other principal revenue sources. The country is reliant on Australia and New Zealand for foreign aid.
Total GDP in 2013 was a tiny $828 million. Per capita GDP in 2013 was $3,276, according to World Bank figures.
ENVIRONMENT: Extensive coral reefs, one of the main tourist attractions. The islands are volcanic, with Yasur being an especially active volcano. The islands are in the tropical cyclone belt from January to April and have also been subjected to tsunamis and minor earthquakes related to volcanic activity.
Deforestation is a problem. Less than half of the rural population has access to reliable drinking water and another 40% only has access to a system that requires repair, according to the aid group Oxfam. Rappler.com
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FAST FACTS: Vanuatu: land of poverty and beauty