Pekoa airport upgrade for wide-bodied planes; roads, education benefit from Cyclone Pam reconstruction funds

Tourism on Espiritu Santo: to receive boost from airport upgrade. Photo: Vanuatu Tourism

Tourism on Espiritu Santo: to receive boost from airport upgrade. Photo: Vanuatu Tourism

The Council of Ministers – COM – has agreed to the capabilities of Pekoa airport at Luganville being lifted to meet international standards of the international body ICAO for Santo to receive higher-capacity wide-bodied aircraft on international flights. COM agreed that the PMO, Ministry of Finance and Public Works would find funding for this purpose. Internal Affairs will see to the removal of the rubbish tip at the end of the existing runway at Pekoa. Lands will be concerned with the leases involved.

The Asian Development Bank and Vanuatu Government have signed their project agreement covering the Cyclone Pam roads re-construction project. Efate Ring Road will be one of the major recipients of work under the scheme. Vanuatu cyclone resilience under the traffic plan will be a major issue and work will involve re-surfacing, river crossings and bridges. The cost: Vt 1.4 billion. Part of the total is in the form of a grant and part a loan.

The Council of Ministers has agreed to the payment of school fees where Cyclone Pam made the greatest damage. Shefa and Tafea will be the major beneficiaries, and the period in question even refers to term 1 this year. The Recovery Fund is being used for the Vt 266 million cost.

The sealing of the Beverly Hills road was in the 100 Day Plan of the incoming government and is being scheduled by Public Works Minister Napat. In addition there will be a further direct road from the Beverly Hills area to Freswota and additional peri-urban roadworks are planned for the steep hill at Eratap. Drainage down from Beverly Hills to Freswota is also a major problem MIPU hopes to get soon fixed.