Smol Melanesian Na Pasifik Nius Digest # 1080 ( Thursday 19 March 2015 )

MELANESIA

1)  17 MAR15 Assessment of Islands post Cyclone Pam

( Tangki alam na rorongean susum einga Tawi Sal )  Translation Namakur to English- Thank you for the news Charlie )

This is information on the aerial assessment report on the aftermath of the cat5 Cyclone Pam. Please circulate among your networks.

Regards,

Charlie
Dear Colleagues

 Please find Aerial Assessment Report below:

17 MAR15 Assessment of Islands post Cyclone Pam.

 Tafea Province:

 Erromango Island:

(184500S 1691000E)

Eyes on T0010z. Eyes on Dillons Bay Airport in position (184610S 1691005E) T0010z, road leading to airport is blocked by broken trees and debris but is clearable, 1 x white building with red roof at the end of the runway, no damage observed. Hut near white building is damaged, water tank observed was intact, runway clear, airport terminal clear, eyes off T0023z. Eyes on village “Unpongkor” in position (184859S 1690054E) T0024z, village  and surroundings 70% destroyed, 10 x pax and 1 x child observed, 4 x pax in a banana boat departing the island, eyes off T0042z. Eyes on village “Happy Land” T0042z in position (185358S 1690338E), 80% destroyed. Eyes on village “Unoroh” in position (185619S 1691026E) T0045z, 80% destroyed, 5 x pax observed, one boat in position (185619S 1691027E), engine moored, 12 x pax adjacent to the boat. Eyes on village “Yasauwi” in position (185817S 1691415E) T0048z, 80% destroyed, 4 x pax observed. Eyes on village “Ifo” in position (185452S 1692009E) T0052z, 50% destroyed, 4 x pax, 2 x children observed, some repairs appear to be in progress. Eyes on “Ipota” Airport in position (185123S 1691705E) T0053z, 70% of adjacent buildings destroyed, runway is clear, 20 x pax observed, roads on ridge line are blocked, remainder of roads are clear, eyes off T0055z. Eyes on village in position (185021S 1691452E) T0058z, 90% destroyed. Eyes on village “Potnarvin” (184452S 1691231E) T0101z, 80% destroyed, 12 x pax observed, eyes off T0105z. Eyes on village in position (183950S 1690924E) T0108z, 100% destroyed, 10 x pax observed, no approach roads observed. Eyes on village in position (183758S 1690506E) T0114z, 50% destroyed. Eyes off Erromango island T0115z.

Shefa Province:

 Shepherd Islands:

(164800S 1683000E)

As per below

Emae Island:

(170400S 1682400E)

Eyes on Lanamar point in position (170748S 1682551E) T 0139z, 70% destroyed, crops destroyed, cows visible, rainwater tank intact. Eyes on village “Recifcook Isle” in position (170347S 1682400E) T0144z, 50% destroyed, 8 x pax observed. Eyes on 2 x communication towers on the hill in position (170258S 1682409E), one appears to be damaged and other is intact. Eyes on Emae Airfeild in position (170510S 1682026E) T0146z, 3 x communication masts intact in position (170258S 1682409E), 70% of buildings destroyed, runway is clear, water subsided, 6 x pax observed, water tank intact, adjacent village in position (170342S 1682335E) 50% destroyed. Village in position (170506S 1682028E) 100% destroyed, 1 x dead cow observed, roads between villages are blocked but clearable, eyes off T0149z.

Tongoa Island(Le Tangoa)

(165500S 1683500E)

Eyes on village in position (165558S 1683300E) T0154Z, 90% destroyed. Eyes on numerous settlements in vicinity of position (165312S 1683510E) 90% destroyed, constant signalling by mirror to aircraft was evident in position (165455S 1683359E), and in-flight reported to HQJOC AOC. Eyes on airfield in position (165324S 1683259E) T0200z, asses roads between villages as blocked but clearable, 90% crops destroyed, 2 x communication masts destroyed, multiple pax, water tank intact. Eyes off 0207z

EPI Island:

(164500S 1682000E)

Eyes on EPI island T0210z. Eyes on village “Nul” in position (164636S 1682516E) T0213z, 50% destroyed, communications tower intact. Eyes on field of crops in position (164048S 1681722E), 90% destroyed. Village in position (164048S 1681722E) 90% destroyed. Eyes on village “Mate” in position (164048S 1681722E) T0219z, 50% destroyed. Eyes on village in position (164106S 1681628E) T0219z, 90% destruction. Eyes on village in position (163712S 1681324E) T0222z, appears in good condition. Villages “Moriu” and “Paia” in vicinity of position (163454S 1681203E) intact. Eyes on Laymen’s Bay Airfield in position (163452S 1680028E) T0224z, airfield damaged, debris on airfield from storm water surge, communications mast intact, eyes off T0231z. Village in position (163421S 1681038E), 50% destroyed, pax appear to be signalling. Eyes on jetty and adjacent village in position (163522S 1680952E) T0228z, jetty damaged, village intact. Eyes on village in position (163729S 1680902E) T0235z, 40% destroyed. Eyes on village in position (163749S 1680850E), 20% destroyed. Eyes on village (164709S 1681021E) T0233T, 70% destroyed. Eyes on Valesdir Airport in position (164742S 1681035E) T0240z, water on runway, buildings intact. Village in position (164820S 1681202E), 30 % destroyed. Village in position (164852S 1681456E), 70% of buildings destroyed, crops assessed as damaged. Village in position (164710S 1682143E), 70% damage. Eyes off Epi Island T0248z

Malampa Province:

 Paama Island:

(162600S 1681400E)

Eyes on village in position (162755S 1681501E) T0257z, 90% destroyed. Eyes on village in position (162656S 1681515E), 50% destroyed, water tank intact. Eyes on “Paama” Airfrield in position (162600S 1681400E) T0259z, runway and airfield buildings intact, adjacent village is 90% destroyed. Eyes off Paama island 0300z.

 Ambryn Island:

(161500S 16810E)

Eyes on T0302z. Eyes on village “Pamai” in position (161924S 1681822E) T0304z, 20% destroyed, large puddles of water observed. Eyes on Ulie Airfield in position (161946S, 1681751E) T0304z and 0325z, runway assessed as serviceable.  Of significant note; three villages in vicinity of position (162046S 1681710E), 50% destroyed, with the letter “H” newly painted in white on the ground of each village, largest is in position (162046S 1681710E), in-flight reported to HQJOC AOC. All settlements along northern part of the island have 20% damage. Eyes on Craig cove airfield in position (161500S 1675500E) T0315z, no damage observed, adjacent village, no damage observed. All settlements in the south coast appear undamaged except for village in position (162118S 1681400E), 50% destroyed. Eyes off Ambryn Island T0330z.

Malakula Island:

(161800S 1673000E)

Eyes on 0334z. Eyes on Lamap airfield in position (162835S 1674936E) T0335z, runway appears serviceable, one aircraft on runway. Eyes on Lakatoro (Capital) in position (160625S 1672515E) T0343z, no damage observed. Eyes on Norsup Airfield (160444S 1672358E) T0345z, no damage observed. Eyes on airfield in position (162911S 1672648E) T0404z, no damage observed. The island appears to be unaffected by the cyclone. Eyes off Malakula T0415z.

Offstation T0415z.

Kind regards

Wojciech Dabrowka

Disaster Management Advisor

___________________________________________

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade | Australian Civilian Core |  Stabilisation and Recovery Branch  

 National Disaster Management Office | Port Vila | Vanuatu

Mob: +678 711 0499 | Mob: +678 595 1112 | Wojciech.Dabrowka@dfat.gov.au

Charlie Timpoloa Harrison

Charlie Timpoloa Harrison

Interim CEO

Vanuatu Association of Non-Governmental Organisations
VANGO Secretariat

PMB 9096
Rue D’Auvergne, No. 2 Area

Port Vila

Republic of Vanuatu
Tel: (678) 26034 (w) / 5958237 (m)

Email: vangosec@gmail.com / vango@piango.net

2a ) Timor-Leste will not give up in dispute over oil, maritime boundary: former leader Xanana Gusmao

Updated 17 March 2015, 19:10 AEDT

Timor-Leste’s former leader Xanana Gusmao warns Australia that his fledgling nation will not back away from a dispute between the two countries over lucrative oil reserves below the Timor Sea.

Australia and Timor-Leste are currently locked in a standoff over the maritime boundary between the two countries, which determines who is entitled to what share of that resource.

In 2013 East Timor launched a case in The Hague alleging the Australia Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) covertly recorded Timorese ministers and officials during oil and gas negotiations in Dili in 2004, allegedly giving Australia the upper hand.

Late last year Australia and Timor-Leste agreed to suspend the International Court of Justice hearing into their bitter spy row in an effort to resolve their differences amicably.

But during an interview with 666 ABC Radio’s Genevieve Jacobs in Canberra, Mr Gusmao reiterated his nation’s determination to ensure its sovereignty is not compromised by the maritime boundary issue.

“I participated in the struggle for independence for 24 years. When we got independence after the referendum in 1999, becoming president in 2002, I told the people that independence is not a flag,” he said.

“Independence is not having a state, presidents, parliaments, governments. Independence is to be the owner of our sovereignty. And sovereignty is the capacity to decide what belongs to us, what is ours.”

‘Australia is a country of principles’

Asked how Timor-Leste would deal with the Australian Government’s clear diplomatic warnings about pursing the matter further in the international arena, Mr Gusmao said Timor-Leste admired Australia, and believed that Australia was greater than this.

“That Australia is a country of principles. Not playing with principles,” he said.

“We will continue to fight in the international area. We have a cause, and we have a case in the International Court of Justice … in this, I can tell you we will not give up.”

Mr Gusmao said building the oil sector was key to Timor-Leste’s plans for future growth to ensure jobs and prosperous future for its people.

“The three main sectors that we will try to improve and motivate will be the oil sector, the horticultural and the tourism,” he said.

A former resistance fighter, Ms Gusmao was prime minister of his country for seven until February, when he stepped down to facilitate a generational leadership transition.

He was his country’s first president in 2002 after a 24-year struggle against Indonesian occupation.

Mr Gusmao was in Canberra on Monday to deliver the ST Lee Lecture on Asia and the Pacific at The Australian National University.

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2015-03-17/timorleste-will-not-give-up-in-dispute-over-oil-maritime-boundary-former-leader-xanana-gusmao/1426175

POLYNESIA

2b ) One Tuvalu island evacuated after flooding from Pam

18 March 2015

The entire population on one of Tuvalu’s islands has been evacuated due to flooding caused by Tropical Cyclone Pam.

More than 400 people from the island Nanumaga have been moved as well as another 85 families from Nukulaelae.

Tuvalu’s Disaster Coordinator says a rapid assessment team is still making its way to the remaining outer islands but they have begun distributing aid to those affected.

Suneo Silu says their priority island is Nui where water supplies were contaminated after the island was covered by a large swell.

“The worst island – that’s Nui and then coming down to Vaitupu and Nukufetau. All islands were flooded. The three northern islands were badly affected by flooding and the central island as well.”

Health officials in Tuvalu are expecting an outbreak of disease on the islands.

Mr Silu says Nui is a priority because remnants of graves have been washed up as the graveyard was flooded and septic tanks are also damaged.

“So we need to deliver water as soon as possible. We are mindful that there will be an outbreak soon – some sanitary disaster. So the health team were there to advise the people to use boiled water. Not to use the contaminated water,” said Suneo Silu.RNZI

3) Water supplies reach needy Tuvalu atoll

18 March 2015

A Red Cross official in Tuvalu says they have got drinking water to Nui island but more will be needed soon in the wake of damage caused by Cyclone Pam.

Nui was the worst hit of Tuvalu’s islands with waves washing over it from both the ocean side and the lagoon side.

The IFRC’s Olioliga Iosua says the flood waters were more than a metre high and have polluted the island’s water sources.

She says Nui’s population of more than 500 is being accommodated in church buildings, community halls or schools, while jerry cans of drinking water have been shipped in from Funafuti.

“But the projection is they will only last for two weeks, so we are planning to have other runs of water to the island until the tanks have been cleaned up and filled with water.”RNZI

4) Tonga, second most at risk country in the world
By Online Editor
10:30 pm GMT+12, 16/03/2015, Japan

It’s known as the friendly islands, but here at the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, the Kingdom of Tonga is known as the second most at risk country in the world facing constant threats of earthquakes, tsunamis, volcano eruptions, tropical cyclones and other related climatic hazards.

In 2014 the Northern Island Group of Ha’apai was hit by Tropical Cyclone Ian resulting in one fatality and almost 70% displaced residents with a total estimated loss close to USD 48 million. It was also the year that severe drought conditions in the Ha’apai and Tongatapu Group affected key agricultural products targeted for export and also led to drinking water shipped in.

To end 2014 a volcanic eruption happened near Hunga Island, 62 kms away from the capital Nukualofa leading to disruptions to both international and domestic air transportation.

“Tonga was the first country in the Pacific to develop and approve a Joint National Action Plan for the integration of Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management,” said  Siaosi Sovaleni, the Deputy Prime Minister of Tonga from the front podium at the High Level Segment of the 3WCDRR.

“This integrated approach has resulted in several inter-sectoral programs being established to address Tonga’s priorities for disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and strengthened preparedness, response and recovery effort.”

“This is a testimony to Tonga’s continued commitment to the integration of Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change, to ensure the people of Tonga achieved sustainable development,” he said.

SOURCE: SPREP/PACNEWS

5) MP Raises Concerns About Women’s Treaty Ratification
PM responds: If UN denies ‘reservations’ Tonga can withdraw ratification

By Pesi Fonua

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, March 16, 2015) – There was confusion in the Tongan Parliament today when government was asked to confirm if the United Nations had accepted Tonga’s ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

Samiu Vaipulu, the Vava‘u People’s Representative for Constituency No. 15, called on government to present evidence that the UN still recognized Tonga’s reservations over some articles in CEDAW, particularly with Tonga’s concern over succession to the throne and noble titles, and controversial issues such as same sex marriages and abortion.

The Prime Minister, Hon. ‘Akilisi Pohiva replied that Cabinet had ratified the convention and it had been formally presented to the United Nations.

But a Noble’s Representative Lord Fusitu‘a pointed out that Tonga’s reservations might not be allowed under Part 2 of Article 28 of the Convention, which reads, “A reservation incompatible with the object and purpose of the present Convention shall not be permitted.”

He postulated that when the Tongan Cabinet ratified the Convention on 9 March it had also agreed to ignore its own reservations.

Hon. ‘Akilisi Pohiva retorted that if that was the case, then Tonga could withdraw its ratification of the Convention, “we will write a letter,” he said.

Samiu however expressed an opinion that once a nation ratified a United Nations convention it could not withdraw just like that.

The Speaker of the House, Lord Tu’ivakano, agreed with Samiu’s request for the Prime Minister to present written evidence to the House that the UN had actually endorsed Tonga’s ratification of CEDAW and its reservations.

Tonga made the initial move to ratify CEDAW in 2006 when Dr Feleti Sevele was Prime Minister, but because Tonga had reservations, the ratification process was suspended.

Samiu, who was Deputy Prime Minister of the former government, said later outside of parliament, that in 2011 under the government of Lord Tu‘ivakano they had investigated the possibility of ratifying the Convention while trying to work on their reservations, but it was not accepted by the UN.

Matangi Tonga Magazine

6) Maraeura convicted in French Polynesia court

18 March 2015

The criminal court in French Polynesia has banned the mayor of Rangiroa from holding an office for a year as part of a sentence for corruption.

Teina Maraeura was found guilty of abusing public funds and given a four-month suspended prison sentence as well as aUS$ 3,500 fine.

The court acquitted him of the charge of using council staff to help build his wife’s shop.

The conviction is expected to be appealed.

Maraeura was a government minister ten years ago and later became the head of French Polynesia’s agency in charge of outer island development.

However, he quit his post after being questioned for alleged corruption.RNZI

MICRONESIA

7) Kiribati President fears for country

19 March 2015

The President of Kiribati says he fears his country won’t be able to carry the cost of the damage caused by natural disasters.

The low-lying island nation has been damaged by the storm generated by Cyclone Pam as well as by spring tides over the last month which have been worse than past years’.

Speaking to international leaders at the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Japan, President Anote Tong says his country faces economic, social, and cultural costs as a result of the storms.

Mr Tong says Kiribati is seeing a shift in weather patterns as a result of global warming and says it’s a grave concern for his people.

Appealing to the international community he says it is crucial to enter into partnerships with developed parties as Kiribati continues to rely on support to reduce disaster risk.

Further springs tides are due for Kiribati this week and look set to continue until Sunday.RNZI

8) Red Cross struggles with Kiribati post-cyclone relief

18 March 2015

The Kiribati Red Cross is struggling to deal with residents in the southern island of Tamana who are homeless after Cyclone Pam.

Its Secretary-General Meaua Tooki says aid has yet to reach the islands but reports have come in of severe damage to dozens of buildings.

“There were 65 households completely destroyed, finished. Then there were 107 houses damaged as well, affected. The total population on this island, the recent count, 857.”

Ms Tooki says there has also been a call for food and water but donated goods have been hard to come by.

She says the government is sending water tanks to catch rain water tomorrow.RNZI

TOK PISIN

9) Sait long agrikalsa long Vanuatu bai had tru bihain long saiklon

Postim 18 March 2015, 16:38 AEDT
Caroline Tiriman

Ol pipal blong Vanuatu bai bungim bikpla heve long kaikai na wok agrikalsa long planti mun na yiar ikam bihaen long Cyclone Pam ibin hamarim kantri long wikend igo pinis.

Odio: Dr Vincent Lebot blong Vanuatu agrikalsa dipatmen i toktok
Odio: Jenny Ligo, lida meri long Vanuatu i toktok
Despla em toktok blong wanpla mansave long ol wok agrikalsa wantem Vanuatu Agrikalsa dipatman long Port Vila, Dr Vincent Lebot.

Emi tok despla cyclone ibin bagarapim tru planti gaden kaikai olsem tapioka, banana, yam, kaukau na ol kumu na despla bai bringim bikpla hangre long ol communiti.

Dr Lebot itok tu olsem kantri bai bungim heve tu long lukim moni long ol kofi na Kava plantesin em Cyclone Pam ibin rausim olgeta.

Australia, New Zealand na ol laen olsem World Vision, Red Cross na ol narapla laen istat pinis long bringim halvim igo long Vanuatu, tasol igat wari iet olsem kaikai bai sot na ol pipal bai hangre.

Aste Gavman blong Papua New Guinea ibin tokaut olsem em bai givim K5 milian kina igo long Vanuatu na K1 milian kina long helpim ol pipal blong Tuvalu.

Na stap iet long despla heve long Vanuatu, na wanpla lida meri i askim gavman na ol Aid Donor long helpim gut ol pua pipal husat i lusim olgeta samting long cyclone Pam.

Jenny Ligo, husat igo pas long women against Crime long Port Vila na husat ibin wok bifo olsem President blong National Council of women itok planti ol halvim em ol narapla kantri isave givim Vanuatu bihaenim ol disasta ino save go long ol pua pipal.

Planti pipal tru long ol settelments long Port Vila ibin lusim ol haus blong ol, na nau oli nogat wanpla samting.Radio Australia

10) Solomon Islands ino askim help long saiklon maski pipol i nidim help

Updated 18 March 2015, 15:51 AEDT
Sam Seke

Ol otoriti long Solomon Islands ino bin askim help long ol autsait kantri bihain Tropical Cyclone Pam i hamarim eastern hap blong kantri last wik, tasol ol pipol long Temotu Province ibin bungim heve na i nidim help.

Cheif Operations Officer blong National Disaster Management Office, George Baragamu itok ol i lukim olsem gavman na ol patna insait long kantri inap dil wantaim ol heve we saiklon i kamapim.

Em i tok em long dispela nau, ol ino bin diklearim wanpela disasta oa state of emergency long kantri.

Mr Baragamu i tok wanpela Polis patrol boat bai lusim Honiara long tumora oa eli long Friday long kisim sampela emergency saplai igo long ailan blong Anuta long Temotu Province.

Em i tok ol ino harim wanpela toktok yet long ol pipol long dispela ailan stat long taim Cyclone Pam i bagarapim ailan blong ol long Fonde long wik igo pinis.

Long Reef Islands long Temotu Province, wanpela meri ibin dai na tripela pikinini i kisim bagarap taim Cyclone Pam ibin hamarim ol long wik igo pinis.

Nester Sipala, wanpela meri blong Reef Islands itok meri ia i nonap wokabaut na ol hauslain blongen i lusim em long haus na i ronwe igo long hait.

Em i tok taim ol i kam bek, ol i lukim em i dai pinis.

Ms Sipala itok saiklon i bagarapim olgeta gaden na fruit tri blong ol pipol – na nau ol i stap hagere.

Na em i tok i nogat wanpela disasta emergency help i go long ol yet.Radio Australia

FRENCH

11) Cyclone Pam : le Vanuatu craint une pénurie alimentaire

Mis à jour 18 March 2015, 16:35 AEDT
Élodie Largenton

L’aide humanitaire s’organise et les communications sont en train d’être rétablies, peu à peu, au Vanuatu, même si certaines îles éloignées demeurent coupées du reste de l’archipel.

Mais si le travail de reconstruction se met en place, les ONG préviennent : c’est un travail de longue haleine qui attend les habitants et les secouristes. Hanna Butler, de la Croix-Rouge néo-zélandaise :

« On va apporter une réponse sur le long terme. On prévoit de rester et d’aider les gens, non pas seulement à regagner leurs maisons, mais aussi à reconstruire leurs jardins, leurs potagers. Ici, les gens vivent de la terre, donc il ne s’agit pas seulement de les aider à avoir de la nourriture maintenant, mais de faire en sorte qu’ils se reconstruisent et soient encore plus forts. »

  • La pénurie alimentaire, c’est la principale préoccupation des autorités vanuataises. Benjamin Shing, du cabinet du président, a ainsi expliqué à ABC que les réserves de fruits et de légumes ne permettraient de nourrir la population que pendant une semaine.
  • Les bananiers ont été arrachés, la plupart des cocotiers n’ont pas résisté non plus aux vents violents qui se sont abattus sur l’archipel, et les légumes qui poussent sous terre ont été inondés. Des poulets et des porcs ont été tués, les bateaux de pêche détruits, et les stocks de vivre et de semences sont perdus.

« Dans les mêmes îles où il n’y a plus de nourriture, il n’y a pas non plus d’eau potable », souligne Alice Clements, coordinatrice de l’Unicef, basée à Port-Vila. La situation est parfois tellement dramatique que certains habitants auraient bu de l’eau salée. Une information que ne confirme pas Alice Clements :

« Je ne sais pas si c’est vrai. Ce que je sais, c’est qu’il y a beaucoup de noix de coco au Vanuatu, qui peuvent être utilisées pour se déshydrater, et la plupart des habitants savent que si vous récoltez de l’eau de pluie, il faut la faire bouillir avant de la boire. Mais c’est vrai que l’eau potable est notre priorité numéro 1. »

En attendant que chaque village rasé par la tempête puisse recevoir l’aide des secouristes, la Croix-Rouge à Port-Vila craint une recrudescence de la malaria, de la dengue et de la leptospirose.

  • L’accès à l’eau potable est aussi une préoccupation majeure à Tuvalu, également durement frappé par le cyclone Pam. Des humanitaires s’inquiètent notamment pour les 500 habitants de l’île Nui. Des bidons d’eau ont été acheminés d’une île voisine, mais ça ne permettra de tenir que deux semaines, estime la Croix-Rouge.

Autre conséquence du passage de Pam à Tuvalu : les élections générales qui devaient avoir lieu jeudi sont reportées.Radio Australia

12) Brèves du Pacifique – mercredi 18 mars 2015

Posté à 18 March 2015, 16:11 AEDT
Élodie Largenton

Nouvel échec du gouvernement australien : pour la deuxième fois, la réforme des universités a été rejetée par les sénateurs.

Le ministre de l’Éducation, Christopher Pyne, avait pourtant annoncé qu’il n’y aurait finalement pas de baisse du financement des universités. Mais les élus indépendants et de l’opposition rejettent toujours la dérégulation des prix de scolarité. Malgré ce nouvel échec, le ministre de l’Éducation assure qu’il « n’abandonnera pas ». Le chef de file des travaillistes, Bill Shorten, affirme, lui, qu’il continuera à « lutter contre l’américanisation du système universitaire »australien.

  1. Un couple de réfugiés iraniens à Nauru accuse des habitants de lui avoir jeté des pierres alors qu’il circulait à moto, lundi soir. Le couple a dû être hospitalisé. Le gouvernement de Nauru rejette ces accusations, affirmant que la moto s’est renversée. Les autorités émettent, en outre, l’hypothèse que les réfugiés roulaient sous l’emprise de l’alcool. Au début du mois, le chef adjoint de la police avait toutefois reconnu qu’il y avait une animosité croissante entre les habitants nauruans et les réfugiés.
  1. Le Japon accorde plusieurs aides à Tonga : une subvention de 3 millions de dollars, destinée à la gestion des catastrophes naturelles (achat de bateaux, de matériel d’évacuation et de kits d’urgence), ainsi que 620 000 dollars pour la mise en place de projets locaux.
  • La célèbre plage de Waikiki à Hawaï est menacée par l’érosion. Le problème n’est pas nouveau : en 2012, déjà, 27 000 mètres cubes de sable ont été prélevés au large et déversés sur la plage. Des structures rocheuses ont aussi été posées pour stabiliser le paysage. Mais cela ne suffit plus. Selon les autorités, une conjonction rare de facteurs météo, cet hiver, a entraîné une érosion importante. Un nouveau plan de lutte contre le phénomène est donc en préparation. « Nous allons essayer de maintenir une petite plage de loisirs, sans oublier de protéger les sites de surf et le milieu marin », précise Sam Lemmo, de l’Office hawaïen de la conservation, au journal Star Advertiser. En 2008, l’Association pour l’amélioration de Waikiki avait estimé que l’érosion des plages à Hawaï pouvait faire perdre jusqu’à 2 milliards de dollars de recettes touristiques par an à l’État.
  • Une jeune Samoane distinguée à Londres pour son combat contre le changement climatique. Brianna Fruean, âgée de 16 ans, a reçu le prix de la jeunesse du Commonwealth des mains de la reine Elizabeth II, aux côtés de trois autres lauréats. Il y a cinq ans, elle a contribué à la fondation de deux associations environnementales. Depuis, elle participe régulièrement à des réunions internationales sur le sujet, et milite pour un développement durable auprès de ses concitoyens. C’est la plus jeune lauréate de ce prix du Commonwealth.Radio Australia

PASIFIK


13) PNG to help Pacific stricken nations, provide K6m to Vanuatu, Tuvalu
By Online Editor
3:54 pm GMT+12, 17/03/2015, Papua New Guinea

The Papua New Guinea Government will provide relief funding of K5 million (US$1.8 million) to Vanuatu and K1 million (US$379,000) to Tuvalu devastated by tropical cyclone Pam.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill announced the package Tuesday, saying a Papua New Guinea assessment team would leave for the affected areas to assess further requirements that could be provided.

“The scale of the devastation in the South Pacific is extreme and urgent help is needed to erect shelter, to restore essential services such as power and sanitation and to re-establish supply lines to provide food,” O’Neill said.

“In Vanuatu many lives have been lost and communities devastated by cyclone Pam as it swept through the region and we must help those who are in dire need.

“The Government of Papua New Guinea is committed to help people in our region to recover from this devastation.

“K5 million in immediate support will be provided to the Government of Vanuatu with a further K1 million provided to Tuvalu.

“Funding will be provided to Vanuatu and Tuvalu governments because as they know what they need at a local level and can arrange to have this delivered.

“The assessment team will be made up of officials from departments of Foreign Affairs and Health, the PNG Defence Force, Police and the National Disaster Management Office.

“Several other Pacific Island nations has also been affected by Cyclone Pam, including Kiribati, and Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea is reaching out to these Governments to better understand their relief and recovery needs.”

O’Neill said that the recent extreme weather had been alarming for people across the Pacific and highlighted the vulnerabilities of developing nation in the Pacific.

“We will work with Vanuatu, Tuvalu and other nations around the Pacific in restore cyclone-damaged areas, and to strengthen our defenses as we continue to be impacted by extreme weather,” the PNG Prime Minister said.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

14) Pacific Island nations look forward to May summit in Japan
By Online Editor
5:00 pm GMT+12, 16/03/2015, Japan

The leaders of several Pacific Island nations and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are building up expectations for an upcoming summit in Japan.

Representatives of the 16-member Pacific Islands Forum are scheduled to meet in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, in May.

Meeting Sunday on the fringes of the U.N. World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, Abe agreed with Kiribati President Anote Tong and with Micronesia’s President Emanuel Mori to further boost cooperation to make the summit a success.

The ministry quoted Abe as telling Tong the summit in May is a “good opportunity to upgrade the partnership between Japan and the Pacific island states to a higher level.”

Tong thanked Japan for its generous assistance and said his country will cooperate to ensure the summit produces a meaningful outcome, the ministry said.

Cooperation to make the summit a success was also agreed between Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and Fiji Foreign Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola.

The two reaffirmed the importance of bilateral cooperation over issues facing the Pacific region to achieve stability and prosperity, the ministry said.

The Pacific Islands Forum groups Australia, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

SOURCE: KYODO NEWS/PACNEWS

HEALTH

15) Water supply restored in Vanuatu capital

18 March 2015

The Vanuatu authorities say water in the capital, Port Vila, is up and running again and all roads on the island of Efate will be cleared by Saturday.

The spokesperson of the National Disaster Management Office, Benjamin Shing, says roads in Port Vila will be cleared by today of all the debris from Cyclone Pam.

Mr Shing says on Tanna, which suffered a direct hit by the cyclone, many key roads have been cleared.

He says it was fortunate a Chinese company had recently sent heavy equipment to the island for a project.

“We used all their heavy machinery, they have cleared all the roads – from Lenakel all the way to the airport, from Isangel all the way to the airport, and they also cleared from the airport, from Whitegrass all the way to Whitesands and the hospital area. So they have cleared all those roads, which is quite fortunate.”

The National Disaster Management Office spokesperson, Benjamin Shing, says however the crews are at risk of running out of fuel.RNZI

16) Field hospital to arrive soon in Vanuatu

18 March 2015

The main hospital in Vanuatu is being boosted by the arrival of medical staff from around the region as they deal with the health aftermath of Cyclone Pam.

The medical superintendent at Port Vila Hospital Richard Leona says at least 150 people have been treated for cyclone related illness and injury since the storm passed.

Mr Leona says resources are stretched with staff also having to deal with their own personal post-cyclone circumstances.

However he says help is imminent.

“We’re getting a mobile hospital from Australia with extra nurses and extra doctors and there are already Australian and New Zealand doctors on the ground assisting us but we are getting a mobile hospital to accomodate this influx of patients and also better triage these patients and manage them well during this disaster period.”

People wait to be seen at the main hospital in Port Vila after Cyclone Pam. One wing was left standing.

Photo: RNZI/Koroi Hawkins

The hospital was severely damaged , with only the newest wing left standing.

Mr Leona, says the hospital is expecting many more patients as officials make contact with the outer islands.

A medical evacuation team is due to visit the devastated island of Tanna today to bring patients to Port Vila.RNZI

POLITIC

17) Fiji bans Lal indefinitely

18 March 2015

The Fiji government says a former Fiji citizen and now Australian academic, Brij Lal, will remain banned from Fiji indefinitely.

The defence minister Timoci Natuva confirmed that the 2009 decision to remove Professor Lal from Fiji still stands.

He left Fiji after being detained by the military over criticism of the interim regime’s decision to expel Australian and New Zealand diplomats.

At the time, the military chief of staff, Colonel Aziz Mohammed, said Professor Lal was detained and questioned because he had breached public emergency regulations.

The director of immigration, Major Nemani Vuniwaqa, confirmed that he had left Fiji but said he was he was not expelled as claimed by him.

Professor Lal was one of the authors of the 1997 constuitution which the military regime abrogated in 2009 when the court of appeal ruled that the post-coup administration was illegal.RNZI

18) UN says Bougainville elections pivotal

19 March 2015

The United Nations Development Programme in Papua New Guinea says this year’s elections in Bougainville will play an important part towards a referendum on the province’s future status.

The UNDP Resident Representative Roy Trivedy says his organisation will assist by providing coordination of the observer effort, support to establish electoral dispute resolutions, training for candidates, party agents and media and support of a post-election review.

Mr Trivedy says it is important for the elections to run smoothly given the committment under the Bougainville Peace Agreement to have a referendum within five years.

“These elections in a way are a precursor to all of that. It will be the people who are elected through these elections that will then be responsible for them taking forward, at least on the Bougainville side, the work towards the referendum so these are incredibly important elections for Bougainville and for the country as a whole.”RNZI

19) Trust the big issue: John Momis

By Online Editor
9:04 pm GMT+12, 17/03/2015, Papua New Guinea

The issue of trust between our leaders in honoring the Bougainville Peace Agreement is very important, says the ABG president Chief Dr John Momis.

He told the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill during the Joint Supervisory Body meeting in Arawa, Central Bougainville last Friday that the agreement was a trust document between two conflicting parties that outlined the parameters that they must operate in as leaders.

“There is an obligation for all of us as leaders to work within the framework and spirit of the Bougainville Peace Agreement in order for us to avoid misunderstandings and arguable issues from arising,” he said.

Chief Momis said that the Bougainville Peace Agreement was a bipartisan agreement that involved different parties, therefore cautioning the leaders against unilateral decision making by any parties.

He then told the prime minister that by attending the meeting and coming to Arawa goes a long way to demonstrating to the people of Bougainville and Papua New Guinea as a whole his interest and commitment to dealing with the Bougainville issue.

The president also appealed to both parties to make things happen for the people of Bougainville, saying all they needed was to work together as leaders within the framework of the Bougainville Peace Agreement.
SOURCE: PNG LOOP/PACNEWS

20) Fiji PM: Government Will Not Reinstate Great Council Of Chiefs

Bainimarama says GCC encouraged racial division

By Lavenia Vuadreu

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, March 17, 2015) – Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama reiterated in the Fijian Parliament today government will not reinstate the Great Council of Chiefs (GCC).

Responding to a question raised by the Opposition, the head of Government said it would not repeal the iTaukei Affairs (Great Council of Chiefs) (Revocation) Regulations hence not bring back the GCC.

The GCC was abolished in March 2012 on the grounds that it encouraged racial divide.

Fijilive
21) Ioane Naivalurua is Fiji’s new Ambassador to China
By Online Editor
4:32 pm GMT+12, 16/03/2015, Fiji

The Fijian Government has appointed Ambassador Ioane Naivalurua as Fiji’s new Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China.

Ambassador Naivalurua, the former Ambassador at Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was appointed this month following a rigorous process of selection conducted in February.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, said he is confident that Ambassador Naivalurua’s appointment will add more value and strengthen Fiji’s relations with the Chinese government and her people.

Minister Kubuabola said the Ministry had put in place a selection process that Ambassador Naivalurua and other candidates had to go through, which included a face-to-face interview with a panel made up of senior Government officials and former diplomats.

With Ambassador Naivalurua’s stint as a diplomat and his vast experience as a career military officer who has served in peacekeeping duties overseas, the Ministry is optimistic that he would elevate Fiji’s bilateral relations with China to greater heights.

Ambassador Naivalurua is finalising his orientation program at the Ministry headquarters in Suva and will take up his new posting soon.

Ambassador Naivalurua was a former Commissioner of Police and former Commissioner of Prisons.

SOURCE: DINFO/PACNEWS

22) Solomons PM Wants Stronger Bilateral Relations With Indonesia

New Ambassador present credentials to Sogavare

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, March 16, 2015) – Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and the new Indonesian Ambassador to Solomon Islands, Ronald Manik said they want to see a strengthened bilateral relationship between their two countries.

The duo expressed this desire when they met Thursday in Honiara during a courtesy visit the Indonesian envoy paid the prime minister.

Mr Manik was in Honiara to present his letters of credence to the Governor General Sir Frank Kabui.

“My Minister for Foreign Affairs who was here recently wants to see the relationship between our country and your country strengthened and she is working to ensure this,” he said.

“She was very happy with her visit to Honiara. She said it has had very fruitful discussions with your deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister.”

In response, Mr Sogavare said:

“Solomon Islands and Indonesia are next door neighbours. We both share borders with Papua New Guinea and I would also like to see our relationship kept intact and bolstered.

“Our relationship has always been based on mutual understanding in that you respect our sovereignty and we respect your sovereignty.

“When issues affect our mutual interests we should continue to see each other as friends and address them through our diplomatic missions.”

Ambassador Manik also used the opportunity to advocate for Indonesia as a young but vibrant democratic country.

“Indonesia has been a free and open country since our leadership change in 1998.

“There is now freedom of speech and expression in that people can freely speak their minds and the media can freely report on issues.

“Claims that four people in West Papua died in December 2014 as a result of genocide by the Indonesian Government were unbelievable.

“We are now living in a global village and Indonesia is not too ignorant to commit genocide.”

He said an investigation has been launched into the claims by a national commission for human rights and the Indonesian Government is determined to make the outcome public.

Prime Minister Sogavare welcomed the news of Indonesia’s adherence to the rules of democracy in the last 16 years and urged Jakarta to tell the world of these positive developments.

“This is indeed good news to us.

“It’s good to hear that you are now enjoying the freedom of speech and expression but you need to tell world of all these positive developments because all we’ve been hearing is bad news.

“As far as Solomon Islands is concerned, when it comes to the issue of human rights, it is a concern that we will have but there is a better way of addressing such issues.

“It’s good to know you have an independent human rights council in Indonesia, you also the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva to fully address human rights violations.

“As far as Solomon Islands as a member of the international community is concerned, we would like to see that the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva take active part in addressing human rights violations in Indonesia if there are any.”

Solomon Star

BUSINESS


23) Pacific region leaders should establish insurance cover
By Online Editor
4:22 pm GMT+12, 17/03/2015, Papua New Guinea

National leaders from the Pacific region should establish an insurance cover against natural disasters as a relief for their countries, Opposition Leader Don Polye said Tuesday.

He made the remark in light of the devastation caused by tropical cyclone Pam in Vanuatu and effects of the wet season in some parts of PNG where infrastructure, homes and lives were destroyed.

Polye said the Pacific leaders should push for this agenda with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

“The Opposition believes that the insurance cover is a way forward for us. Hence, it will become a relief for small island economies in their recovery efforts after a natural disaster strikes a particular country,” he said.

Polye said that as the former chairman of these international organisations he had included this as one of his agendas discussed two years ago during the WB and IMF’s Asia-Pacific constituency meeting in Washington DC.

He said both organisations took the agenda on board saying they only indicated its validity with keen interest for its establishment.

Meanwhile Polye has expressed his condolence and sympathy to Vanuatu President Baldwin Londsdale on the lives lost and devastation caused by Cyclone Pam in Port Vila and other parts of his country.

Polye said it was an untimely tragedy.

“At this juncture of sorrow and sadness, we grieve with the Vanuatu Government, its people and the immediate relatives who have lost their loved ones in the tragedy,” Polye said.

He said God would help restore normalcy in the lives of the people of Vanuatu.

Polye also said Papua New Guinea needs a regional policy which would set the framework for the government to look into the affairs of smaller Pacific island countries in assistance.

He said he had a proposed policy to cover the region.

“It would be inappropriate for PNG to sit with a ‘juvenile attitude’ and assist smaller island nations on an “ad hoc” basis as resources have to be spent properly based on a regional policy,” Polye said.

He said this was the time the PNG Government should assist smaller island nations like Vanuatu during emergency situations.

He said the PNG military and police personnel should have a quick response approach with humanitarian aid.

Polye noted that PNG’s relationships with smaller island countries had grown comprehensively and deepened recently.

“PNG requires an effective system of governance of the smaller island countries which would reflect socio-economic values,” he said.

“It would be important for PNG to demonstrate influence and make a difference within the region for the benefit of smaller island countries,” Polye said.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

24) Visa-free travel between China, Fiji expected to attract more Chinese tourists

By Online Editor
01:56 am GMT+12, 17/03/2015, Fiji

From March 14, 2015 on, nationals of China and Fiji can enter each other’s country without a visa, as agreed by both governments. The latest move, combined with other steps such as the launching of Fiji’s first travel guidebook in Chinese, are expected to further attract Chinese tourists to the South Pacific island country, many say in Fiji.

“For Fiji, The visa waiver itself is favorable news, or a powerful official advertisement, which will let a lot of Chinese people know more about the country, and I believe the number of Chinese tourists in Fiji will increase at a higher speed,” Beryl Wang, managing director of Fiji’s Top Oriental Travel Services co, ltd. told Xinhua on Tuesday.

Wang, a Chinese-Fijian, said in a bid to receive the anticipated bigger Chinese tourist flow into Fiji, her company will “do more homework” to better serve them in regard to meals, travel, accommodation, playing and shopping.

Meanwhile, the travel agency, which also serves Australian and New Zealand tourists, will pay more attention to personnel training and recruit more employees who can speak both Chinese and English.

Wang’s comments echoed Fijian Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Faiyaz Koya’s remarks while launching the island country’s first travel guidebook in Chinese late last year.

“China represents Fiji’s most important growth market for tourism in the coming years and that is why the Fijian government is taking a decisive leadership role to get more Chinese visitors to our shores each year,” Koya said.

“As an industry, we should be proud of this collaborative effort. The guide will make information about Fiji readily available to the Chinese traveler in their own language,” he added.

The travel guidebook in Chinese, which contains key information such as the history of Fiji, its geography, how to get around, accommodation options and attractions around Fiji, would help cater for the growing Chinese tourism market in the country.

In fact, the number of Chinese tourists in Fiji, though a little humble, kept growing in recent years.

According to Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, Fiji has been “seeing a dramatic increase in the number of Chinese visitors to Fiji”.

“Last year, 28,000 came to our shores, an increase of 5,000 over 2013. But the Chinese market has grown from just 4,000 visitors in 2009. So in the past six years, we have seen a seven- fold increase in Chinese visitor arrivals and we are determined for that number to grow,” Bainimarama said while celebrating Spring Festival with local Chinese community earlier this year.

Fiji’s annual tourist arrivals reached a new high of 692,630 in 2014, a 5.3 percent increase over that in 2013, statistics show.

Will the visa waiver with China help Chinese tourists take up a much bigger part in Fiji’s total visitor arrivals this year and the years to come? Fiji’s tourism industry is waiting for the answer.

SOURCE: XINHUA/PACNEWS

INFRASTRUCTURE


25) Port Vila rebuild begins
By Online Editor
2:15 pm GMT+12, 18/03/2015, Vanuatu

The Vanuatu authorities say water in the capital, Port Vila, is up and running again and all roads on the island of Efate will be cleared by Saturday.

National Disaster Management Office spokesperson Benjamin Shing said roads in Port Vila would be cleared by today of all the debris from Cyclone Pam.

Shing said on Tanna, which suffered a direct hit by the cyclone, many key roads had been cleared.

He said it was fortunate a Chinese company had recently sent heavy equipment to the island for a project.

“We used all their heavy machinery, they have cleared all the roads – from Lenakel all the way to the airport, from Isangel all the way to the airport, and they also cleared from the airport, from Whitegrass all the way to Whitesands and the hospital area. So they have cleared all those roads, which is quite fortunate.”

But Shing said the crews were at risk of running out of fuel.

Shing said telecommunications were being restored.

“We have got satphones in the provinces and can now speak to the secretary-generals who are the chairpersons of the provincial disaster committees and that gives us a good information flow back to HQ for our assessments and our responses.”

Meanwhile, the main hospital in Vanuatu is being boosted by the arrival of medical staff from around the region as they deal with the health aftermath of Cyclone Pam.

The medical superintendent at Port Vila Hospital Richard Leona says at least 150 people have been treated for cyclone related illness and injury since the storm passed.

Leona says resources are stretched with staff also having to deal with their own personal post-cyclone circumstances.

However he says help is imminent.

“We’re getting a mobile hospital from Australia with extra nurses and extra doctors and there are already Australian and New Zealand doctors on the ground assisting us but we are getting a mobile hospital to accomodate this influx of patients and also better triage these patients and manage them well during this disaster period.”

Leona, says the hospital is expecting many more patients as officials make contact with the outer islands.

A medical evacuation team is due to visit the devastated island of Tanna today to bring patients to Port Vila.

source: RNZI/PACNEWS

LAW&ORDER

26) Security At Solomons International Port Compromised: Ex-Chief
Point Cruz Wharf called ‘vulnerable to terrorist infiltration’

By Alfred Sasako

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, March 17, 2015) – Security at the Point Cruz wharf – the nation’s main international seaport – has been compromised to the extent that it is vulnerable to terrorist infiltration, a former chief security of the Solomon Islands Ports Authority (SIPA) has warned.

Patterson Ashley Hangaio, who spent 30 years with SIPA, was retired last month on the grounds of having reached the retirement age of 55 years. He was Chief Security Officer.

Mr Hangaio who had attended a number of security training programs run by the United States Department of Homeland Security both in the United States and in Solomon Islands said security at the Point Cruz Wharf had been compromised since a Singaporean firm was contracted to, among other things, review security arrangements there.

Among the training programs he attended was one run by the International Training Division of the US Coast Guard. The course covered such areas as ports physical security and ports vulnerability assessment.

“As someone who has been through such specialised training, I can see that our security has been compromised. It is my view that our sovereignty has been compromised to the extent that Point Cruz wharf is vulnerable to terrorist infiltration.

“Some terrorist activities could be going on there now without our knowledge,” Mr. Hangaio said.

He also questioned a number of Board decisions which he said had “drained” SIPA financially.

“Let me give you an example. In June 2000 when the country was going through the ethnic tension, there were only two international shipping agents in Honiara. Despite that, SIPA was financially healthy.

“Today, we have four shipping agents, handling well over 20 arrivals a month. And yet, SIPA does not seem to be looking healthy financially,” Mr Hangaio said.

“Where’s all the money going?”.

Mr Hangaio pointed to one instance where he said a Board member allegedly awarded his company a refit contract to convert SIPA’s training/conference room into a set of offices.

“It cost SIPA more than SBD700, 000. As far as I know, that did not go through the Board nor the Ports structural engineer. It is the same with a SBD6 million tugboat, which was purchased from the Philippines.

“That boat is today sitting at Noro after just one week of work last December,” he said.

“I think the Board should be terminated immediately, their activities investigated and a new Board appointed. I would also urge the Government to terminate the contract of the Singaporean firm for security reason. We simply cannot entrust our security to anyone outside.

“Our security at the Point Cruz wharf is based on arrangements with the United States. That’s one of the reasons why they have been training us,” he said.

A SIPA official who spoke on condition of anonymity said Mr Hangaio was not the only individual who attended the US-run training program on security.

“There are others who have gone through the same training. He is bitter because in his mind he was forced to retire,” the official said.

Mr Hangaio said it was true that he was not happy about the way he was terminated.

“Instead of giving me six-month’s notice in line with SIPA’s employment guidelines, I was given merely two weeks. And that was after 30 years in the security service of SIPA,” he said.

Solomon Star

CLIMATE CHANGE,CONSERVATION,ENVIROMENT

27) Vanuatu economy could take years to recover

19 March 2015

A disaster economics expert says the next few years will be difficult for Vanuatu’s economy with many of its major exports impacted by Cyclone Pam.

Much of Vanuatu’s growth over the last decade has come from tourism and agriculture with each making up around 25 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

While the extent of the damage from the cyclone is still being assessed, the Chair in the Economics of Disasters at Victoria University, Ilan Noy says damage to these industries will hit the country hard.

“With the decline in tourism, damage to the main cash export crop, and the need to do emergency management in the next few months, it’s going to be a difficult time for Vanuatu.”

Mr Noy says the tourism industry could take years to get back on its feet as infrastructure is repaired and tourists forget about the risk of future cyclones.RNZI

28) Cyclone Pam: Emergency aid begins to reach outlying islands of Vanuatu

Updated 18 March 2015, 18:15 AEDT

Emergency aid begins to reach some of the outlying islands of Vanuatu, after the Pacific archipelago was last week pummelled by one of the strongest cyclones on record.

Emergency aid is beginning to reach some of the outlying islands of Vanuatu, after the Pacific archipelago was last week pummelled by Tropical Cyclone Pam.

Aid groups and survivors of Pam are hoping that early warnings, concrete-walled homes, cave refuges and a healthy respect for the sea have saved the South Pacific nation from a huge death toll.

Cyclone Pam tore through Vanuatu last week bringing wind gusts topping 300 kilometres per hour, torrential rain, huge seas and storm surges.

Relief agencies said conditions were among the most challenging they have faced, with concerns the official death toll of 11 confirmed fatalities will rise once officials reach all of the nation’s 65 inhabited islands to inspect the damage.

Before and after Cyclone Pam

Witness the devastation from the air in aerial photos taken before and after Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu.

United Nations assessor Joe Lowry arrived on Tanna island — 200 kilometres south of capital Port Vila and home to 30,000 people — and said the large outer island would need a lot of help.

“They say they’ve got maybe one week of food left and we’re miles away from anywhere here,” he said.

“They’ve had no communication at all with the outside world since about 2:00am on Saturday morning, and they don’t know what’s happened.

“They’re asking me where the damage is worst. I’m telling them it’s worse here.”

Pacific Island policy and development expert Tess Newton Cain, based in Port Vila, said the recovery effort in the capital was progressing well.

“The water has been super chlorinated to make sure everyone can be completely safe in the knowledge that it is safe to drink,” she said.

Ms Cain said aid workers are also attempting to restore the water supply to communities outside of Port Vila.

Donations can be made to the Australian Red Cross Tropical Cyclone Pam Appeal on their website

Hopes well-honed techniques helped prevent high death toll

Aid agencies and survivors are hoping traditional coping mechanisms may have helped prevent a much greater disaster.

“A lot of people in the remote areas have caves where they can go,” Jacob Kapere, a chief from the south of Tanna island, said.

“Some villages have cyclone houses which don’t have windows and have very low doors that you have to bend over to enter. Their thatch roofs are dug into the ground.”

Vanuatu is regularly lashed by cyclones and also prone to earthquakes and tsunamis, and is ranked as the world’s most vulnerable country to natural disasters.

“If you look at statistics of the Pacific of disasters over the years you will see that the death toll often is not very high,” Sune Gudnitz, Pacific head for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said.

“People have good coping mechanisms and it’s in their DNA that when storms are coming they know what to do.”

Small, scattered populations mean that death tolls in the South Pacific are relatively low, especially since the advent of mobile phones, real-time cyclone tracking and the internet — which all ensured Vanuatu had plenty of warning of Cyclone Pam.

Updates and colour-coded warnings were sent by radio and SMS, enabling residents to trace the path of the cyclone on maps specially printed in every telephone book, Oxfam Vanuatu country manager Colin Collett van Rooyen said.

ABC/Reuters

29) Fears of food shortages in Vanuatu as huge damage revealed
By Online Editor
4:05 pm GMT+12, 17/03/2015, Vanuatu

Vanuatu warned Tuesday it faces imminent food shortages as accounts emerged of huge damage to a large outer island, days after one of the fiercest cyclones on record pummelled the Pacific archipelago.

Relief agencies say conditions are among the most challenging they have faced, with concerns mounting that disease and a lack of clean water could add to the current toll of 11 confirmed fatalities.

Communications were still down to many of Vanuatu’s 80 other islands, most only accessible by boat, and Prime Minister Joe Natuman said it would be at least a week before authorities had a better sense of the destruction.

President Baldwin Lonsdale has appealed for the world to help after Severe Tropical Cyclone Pam roared ashore on Friday night.

World leaders, including from Australia, Britain and the EU have pledged aid. French President Francois Hollande pledged to step up France’s relief efforts in “the coming days, to respond to the urgency of the situation”

The scale of the disaster became clearer with the first teams of aid workers reaching Tanna island, home to 30,000 people. It is some 200 kilometres (125 miles) south of the capital Port Vila, itself badly damaged.

“The impression they got from their initial observations was that the damage is significantly worse than Port Vila,” Tom Perry from CARE Australia told AFP. He added that the hospital was functioning but had no roof.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said reconnaissance by the country’s military “confirmed significant damage in the southern islands”

“Particularly Tanna island, where it appears that more than 80 percent of houses and buildings have been partially or completely destroyed,” she said.

“Not only buildings flattened, but palm plantations, trees. It’s quite a devastating sight.”

Prime Minister Natuman said while initial assessors had been able to enter the eastern and western parts of the island chain, northern and southern areas were still largely unaccessible.

“It’ll be at least a week or two. Right now we are sending teams to do ground assessments to see how many people are homeless,” he told reporters at Port Vila airport, where he welcomed home Lonsdale as he returned from Japan.

Benjamin Shing, from Lonsdale’s office, said survivors would quickly run out of food.

“The first week we are relying on the fact that the food crops and the gardens are still edible and they can be used for the first week, but after the first week we’ll need to get some rations on the ground,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

With crops wiped out, Shing feared the worst for a country that largely relies on subsistence farming, warning “there might be a lot of fatalities”.

Perry said at least five of the dead were from Tanna, adding that “food running out is of great concern” for CARE Australia.

Local woman Sale Chilia said residents living in Mele, a village two kilometres south of Port Vila, were starting to worry about where they could find their next meal.

“We only have the leftovers now,” he said.

In Port Vila, access to water and electricity was partially restored after the storm brought down an estimated 80 percent of power lines and damaged most homes.

Stores also began reopening, but entire neighbourhoods remained without power as locals struggled to rebuild their homes.

In the capital, leaves and branches lined the streets while residents began clearing metal roof sheeting from the roads around their houses and used machetes to hack through fallen trees.

Personal belongings, household items, mattresses and clothes were spread out on the ground and hung on washing lines as people dried them out, as the cyclone slowly weakened.

Samuel Toara, 25, thought he was going to die when the storm barrelled ashore. He sheltered in the pitch black with two other young men as the tempest roared past his home.

“It was very hard. The cyclone sounded like a big plane flying very low,” he told AFP.

As heavy rain pounded his house, made of corrugated metal and timber, part of the roof blew off.

“The rain and wind was like white smoke and it flooded up to my knee. But I told the boys, don’t worry about the water,” he said. “As long as we survive.”

The United Nations said there were at least 3,300 people sheltering in 37 evacuation centres around the country.

UNICEF has estimated that 60,000 children have been affected by the cyclone and virtually all schools were closed.

Emergency specialist Mioh Nemoto expressed concern about what they would eat.

“Food security is likely to be a continual problem and we need to start thinking now about how children will stay well fed,” said Nemeto.

30) Temotu faces food shortage
By Online Editor
9:09 pm GMT+12, 17/03/2015, Solomon Islands

Villages  and communities in the far eastern part of the country are likely to experience food shortage in a week or so following the devastation caused by cyclone Pam last week.

Reports reaching the Solomon Star said, people of Reef Islands and other outer islands of the Temotu province are expected to run out of food following damages caused to their food gardens, root crops and food trees.

John Tego, an officer from the Temotu Provincial Disaster Office based in Lata yesterday said, Reef Islands and most of the islands in the province will be hit hard by food shortage in a fortnight.

Cyclone Pam has left trails of damages caused by strong wind and heavy rain in the eastern parts of the country.

Tego said, the provincial office was only able to get reports from Reef Islands following the cyclone.

“According to reports we received from Reefs islands over the weekend all food gardens and food trees were all blown away and destroyed by the heavy rain and strong wind.

“Most of the people only have very little food supply which will last them this week. In two weeks’ time they should run out of food because all their food gardens and food trees were damaged,” Tego said.

The officer said, their office was unable to establish any communication links with the other islands of Temotu to find out about their status.

But he believes the other islands in the group are also severely affected.

Bad weather has hampered efforts to visit other islands in the province.

Tego said, nothing much can be done at this stage until the weather improves.

“Once the weather improves an assessment team can be dispatched to reach the other islands.”

Meanwhile the Temotu provincial government is now working closely with the National National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) to conduct an urgent assessment of the aftermath of Cyclone Pam.

Cyclone Pam was believed to have caused damages to villages on Reef Islands, Tikopia and Anuta islands.

Temotu Premier, Baddley Soakifono in an interview with the Solomon Star said, his government is currently working closely with the disaster office in Lata.

He said, so far they have received reports of damages in Reef Islands, Tikopia and Anuta.

“But we could not ascertain the extent of damages until an assessment team is sent to investigate the islands. At the moment we cannot do anything due to bad weather,” he said adding, as soon as the weather calms down a team would be mobilised to conduct assessment so that immediate help is provided to the people.

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS

SPORTS

31) 650,000 tickets for Pacific Games to go on sale March 26
By Online Editor
6:02 pm GMT+12, 17/03/2015, Papua New Guinea

Three types of ticket packages will be available on March 26 when tickets for the Pacific Games go on sale.

The packages include the Venue package, sports package, and the ultimate package.

Each package varies and depends on what you as the spectator want. Games Organizing Committee CEO Peter Stewart said that the pricing was based on the demand, seating capacity, strength of the sports schedules, past win/loss record of the sport, price comparisons, accessibility and affordability of the event.

“650,000 tickets will go on sale the 28 sports, 14 venues will hold all the events with nine venues paying while the other five will be free,” Stewart said.

“The venue package will allow for the buyer to have unlimited access to the venue from day one to the final day, Sports package allows for the buyer to be able to attend their chosen sport throughout its duration, while the ultimate package will see the buyer have access to all venues, all sports with preferential seating, the package costs K5000 (US$1,887) and includes both the opening and closing ceremony,” Stewart added.

The lowest priced tickets will cost K10 (US$3.77) for the nine paying venues of the Games Stewart said. Sports packages will be applicable to sports running on their own in an enclosed venue.

“Take for example Soccer, you can buy the sports package to watch only soccer for 16 days of games for K150,” Stewart added.

The opening ceremony has been priced at K100 for the outer stands with the grand stand going for K200 (US$75) Stewart said regardless of age all tickets are going for the price as stated and only children under 2 are free and will have to seat on their parents lap.

The tickets will be available from selected BSP outlets from March 26. Selected branches include Lae, Wewak, Madang, Mt Hagen, Goroka, Kokopo, Kimbe, Buka and Alotau.

Branches in Port Moresby will be Town, Harbour City, Boroko, Waigani Drive, Waigani, Vision City, and the Waterfront Place kiosks. In Lae Top Town and the Market will be available for ticket sales.

Meanwhile, sports schedules have been released for the Pacific Games in July and will see certain codes conduct their first Games before the Opening Ceremony on Saturday July 4.

The Taurama Indoor Sports complex will have Basketball begin its first games with Bisini hosting Soccer and Touch Rugby.

Table Tennis will begin at the Caritas Technical Secondary School.

The Sir John Guise stadium will see the Rugby 7s, Rugby League 9s, Beach Volleyball, Hockey and Athletics begin on July 8 and ending on July 18.

The Sir John Guise Indoor Complex will begin with Weightlifting on July 5, Powerlifting on July 8, the Basketball finals will be played on July 11 and 12, while Netball will begin on July 13. Volleyball begins on July 11 at the Taurama Aquatic Centre courts (BSP Arena) while Karate and Taekwondo will begin on July 13 and 15.

Swimming will begin on July 6 and will end on July 11 at the Taurama Aquatic Centre (BSP Arena). Bisini will be the largest venue and will see Cricket, Softball and Lawn Bowls begin their events on July 6 and ending on July 18. Sir Hubert Murray Stadium will see soccer dominate from day one till the finals on July 17 while Tennis and Squash will host their games at the POM Racquets Club from July 6 till July 17.

Caritas Technical Secondary School will see Body building on July 13 while Boxing will begin on July 14.

June Valley Shooting Range behind the PNG Gardner will see competition begin on July.

SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

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