Vaitupu, largest island of the Pacific nation of Tuvalu, located at 7.48 degrees south and 178.83 degrees west.
Vaitupu also is home to the second-largest population in Tuvalu, numbering about 1,200 residents. 600 students from ages 13 and 21 are sent here from throughout the archipelago to attend the country's only secondary school, Motufoua. The single large village includes a hospital, church, primary school, post office and guesthouses.
Despite its relatively large size, the island became so overcrowded during the 1940s that several families migrated to Fiji. Vaitupu received worldwide attention in 2000, when a fire in a dormitory at the Motufoua school killed 18 girls and an adult supervisor. It was later discovered that the fire was caused by a student using a candle to read during the night. The late Prime Minister Ionatana Ionatana declared a national tragedy and quickly traveled to the island to witness the aftermath.
Today, Vaitupu can be accessed by either private boat or the government-operated MV Nivaga II at irregular intervals from Funafuti.