VCAP Shefa Province Area Profile

Shefa Province is one of the six provinces of Vanuatu, located in the lower centre of the country and it includes the islands of Epi, Efate and the Shepherds Group. It has a total population of 79,212people based on latest estimate by Vanuatu Statistics Office and an area of 1,455 km². Its capital is Port Vila, which is also the capital of the nation.Epi Island is located in the northeast corner of the province. The Epi Sub-District Office, an integral part of the Shefa Provincial Government Council is located at Rovo Bay, in the Vermali Area Council.At the time of the 2009 Census, the total population of Epi Island was 5,647 people, which includes the population of offshore Lamen Island. There are four Area Councils on Epi: Vermaul, Vermali, Varsu and Yarsu, collectively containing over 25 villages.Epi receives an abundance of precipitation, ranging from 2.9m annually in the centre of the island to 2.2m annually on the northwest coast. The temperature on the island varies during hot and cool seasons, but averages approximately 24.9°C at the coast and is a few degrees cooler in the centre of the island.Epi is seasonal and is warmer from November until April. Like the rest of Vanuatu, the island’s weather is strongly influenced by the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycles. During the El Nino (warm phase) the country is subject to long dry spells. During the La Nina (cool phase) Vanuatu has prolonged wet conditions. Climate change predictions suggest that the intensification of the ENSO cycle will result in more intense wet and dry seasons. While the island has been affected by cyclones in the past, cyclones rarely hit the island. The last cyclone in Epi was in 1994. Cyclone frequency is not expected to increase with climate change.Epi is located on active geological faults. While there is no active volcano currently on Epi, nearby Lopevi to the east has been active since 1960, and there are other active volcanoes on Ambrym. As a result, the islands are at risk of tsunamis and earthquakes.

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