ALBURY couple Dylan and Vivienne Jones, presently stranded in Vanuatu due to the coronavirus pandemic, are confronting an additional challenge in the form of Cyclone Harold.
They've been advised there is no chance they can expect to leave the Pacific Island they have been on since March 14 until the cyclone, presently rated a category 5 with wind speeds of between 200 to 250km/h, passes in the next 24 hours.
Vanuatu is in a state of emergency with the eye of the storm expected to pass north of Port Vila where they are staying with an estimated 80 to 100 other Australians on the island.
"We have been told to just stay inside our bungalow and wait it out," Ms Jones said.
"The Vanuatu people are well versed with cyclones and extreme weather events so they know what to do.
"We have seen some images of locals in the northern islands hiding in caves while the cyclone passes.
"Realistically we are in the safest place in our resort and it is expected to just get very windy and loud overnight tonight."
The couple were celebrating their first wedding anniversary on the trip which they hoped to cut short with an earlier than expected departure.
"Our families, as well as ourselves, have been emailing every politician we can think of to try and get some action," Ms Jones, who is a journalist with The Border Mail, said.
"Sussan Ley's office was good at replying to us, but that is all that has really happened, same with Penny Wong, who has really been the only politician voicing her concerns about getting Aussies home.
"There isn't any sort of timeline either which has been really hard mentally and financially.
"We don't know if we are going to be here for another week or a few months.
"We have a mortgage and bills to pay back home and both of us are running out of annual leave."
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Ms Ley said she aware of the Jones case.
"We've been able to assist several border residents in getting back home after their flights were suddenly cancelled," she said.
"Viv's family were in touch with my office last Wednesday and we immediately relayed their situation to DFAT.
"I understand Viv and Dylan are in touch with Australia's High Commission and the consular staff there are able to keep them across the current situation. My thoughts are with them both, and can assure them and their families the government and Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne are doing all they can to bring stranded Australians home as soon as humanly possible."
A crisis centre established by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in has fielded 30,000 calls from travellers abroad or their families seeking help.
"What is probably most frustrating is seeing other governments who have sent planes to get their people out of here," Ms Jones said.
"Last week French people left on planes, on Wednesday the US citizens have a plane which will get them out of here.
"Qantas and Virgin have said their planes and staff are ready to repatriate Australians stranded overseas.
"Our government just has to say go and get them.
"We honestly don't care how much a flight home will be we just want to be on Aussie soil."
Last Friday the government announced a deal involving the two airlines to bring Australians home from four international locations, London, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Auckland.