Vanuatu Daily News Digest | 25 April 2015

Today 25 April is ANZAC Day, and the one hundredth anniversary of the Gallipoli invasion. Australians and New Zealanders mark the commemoration of the tragic event, and here, as in those two countries, pay tribute to the sacrifice of so many young soldiers’ lives.

The weekend papers continue the relentless stories of welcome and frightful news stemming from the passage of cyclone Pam. Amongst the bad news, Post reported the first ever case of zika and three of dengue. Both are mosquito borne and involve similar symptoms of fever and joint pains. However, the Health Department reports, good news now, malaria case reduction over 10 years because of newer prevention policies. And news of the same day in the UK Independent says an anti-malaria vaccine has tested so well in sub-Saharan Africa that it may be possible to make the Gates Foundation-assisted treatment available by October.

Radio Vanuatu and Post gave further news of the 20 tons of fish by-catch which was made available through Vanuatu Fishing Limited to schools and hospitals. It also resulted in nutritionally useful and cheaply priced fish sales to the general public. By-catch is usually rejected, but Fisheries Department’s Graham Nimoho has been urging donation rather than throwing back of this unwanted catch.

Vanuatu has lost its food security culture points out Vincent Lebot in an interesting Post report. People used to plant gardens in different locations in order to overcome the worst aspects of hurricane damage. No longer. And the element of resilience has also been lost. Evelyne Toa also deals with Vanuatu’s self-image of resilience, and how it is damaged. Greed in obtaining food, mis-direction of waste food, bad food allegedly delivered as aid, and political interference all have so far played their part.

Of particular interest is a new "Economic Rehabilitation after Pam" programme launched in Hong Kong ten days ago by Internal Affairs Minister Salwai. Hilaire Bule in Vila Times issue 13 speaks of it as "honorary citizenship" and entirely different to the CIIP scheme which deals with dual citizenship. CIIP, which sees much of its profits directed elsewhere, has been an issue of "grave concern" Bule notes.

Radio Vanuatu News spearheaded the significant (VT 350 million) New Zealand new contribution to Wan Smol Bag Theatre (WSB) for its major contribution to social and environmental issues. WSB’s CEO Michael Taurokoto and NZ High Commissioner Roberts signed the agreement Friday.

And to end on yet another good news note, Post reports 193 graduands at the APTC brought the total of the Vila college’s holders of recognised Australian trade qualifications up to 1,134. The ceremony took place last week at Nabanga Restaurant at the Vanuatu Institute of Technology and was the final graduation ceremony for long-serving Country Manager Kathryn Gray who finishes in June with the good wishes of staff and present and past students.