Vanuatu daily news digest | 10 October 2014Posted: October 10, 2014
News from the Sea Bed Mining consultation has kept your vanuatudaily team of one rather occupied throughout the week. However, the other immediate environmental concern, smelting at Big Bay, still receives harsh criticism – from a Port Olry landowner. But the biggest issue of the week was the tremendous rain – the 157.7 mm of it in 24 hours. This was said to be Efate’s highest rainfall although it was also admitted "such records would only be caused by cyclones." So was it the highest ever, or not? One man died in the Lacolle River, carried away in the swollen waters, and there were floods at various places from the river near Vanuatu Beverage, to Seven Star, the Dinh depression at Tebakor, then Anabrou and the La Colline Creek at Ground Force, along with the Teouma River bridge. But back to Deep Sea Mining and the Vanuatu National Council of Women has expressed strong opposition to DSM and the Pacific Area Network on Globalisation (PANG) made an eloquent call to the chiefs and people of Vanuatu for a ban …
Pacific civil society organisations including Pacific activists have called on the chiefs and the government of Vanuatu to ban seabed mining. The call in the form of poems, chants, legal opinion, and petitions from around the region have challenged the government of Vanuatu to protect our Pacific Ocean by having a firm stand on banning the prospect of seabed mining. Rosa Koian from BismarkRamu Group (BRG) in Papua New Guinea, while speaking at Vanuatu’s first ever national consultation on seabed mining policy, said there are so many experiences for Vanuatu and the Pacific to learn from PNG with its onshore mining. “We haven’t managed the impacts of mining on land and yet we are venturing into this new form of mining…a new form that still lacks scientific information,” argued Koian. Maureen Penjueli from the Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG), said “we are calling on the chiefs and the government of Vanuatu to accept these 32,000 signatories who petitioned leaders of the Pacific in 2012 … which they failed to accept in Rarotonga during the Pacific Leaders Forum.” Other calls from the region came in the form of poems from well-known activists such as Sina Brown Davis, Elizaberth Soto, Arnie Saiki, TeresiaTeawai, TekuraMoeka’a, and No’u Revilla. “These poets are calling on you Vanuatu to take a firm stand and say no to seabed mining,” Penjueli added. Vanuatu’s Lands Minister, Ralph Reganvanu accepted the submissions on behalf of the government.
The other big news of this week concerns the Ebola virus and the negligible likelihood of it reaching here. That said, however, members of the medical profession admit screening of arrivals from overseas just does not happen. Daily Post today has the WHO Country officer Dr Jacob Kool briefing Vila Central Hospital doctors and nurses on protective measures and pointing out that the infection spreads only through contact with a patient suffering from Ebola.
Prime Minister Natuman returns this afternoon.