Disaster relief supplies start arriving in cyclone-ravaged Torres islands

Wind and salt damaged trees on Hiu island, pictured today from a helicopter. Photo: Hon. Ralph Regenvanu MP

Wind and salt damaged trees on Hiu island, pictured from a helicopter supplying relief supplies. Photo: Hon. Ralph Regenvanu MP

The Torres islands has begun receiving disaster relief supplies following the passage of Cyclone Donna. There is an emergency operations centre now open at Loh Island coordinating distribution. Over the weekend a helicopter delivered the first necessities to all the islands and the vessel Pacific Hope is now distributing water, sanitation and health (WASH) items for improved hygiene. There have been reports of illnesses like diarrhoea and influenza. A French patrol vessel has also taken 200 water containers to the islands. The Southern Cross is also making deliveries via Santo. (Radio Vanuatu)

It is hoped that winds and rain from ex-Cyclone Ella won’t hamper relief efforts in the Banks and Torres islands. Ella faded into a tropical low last night as it left Fiji waters headed towards Vanuatu’s northern waters. (Radio Vanuatu)

Everything old is new again: a proposal has surfaced for a Free Trade Zone for Santo (SFTZ). We have heard that expression from 30 plus years ago and it has always failed. Not any more, says Sanma Provincial Council, the region’s government. They endorsed such a project last week. An SFTZ was legally suggested by the Department of Trade in 1985. In 2016 Deputy PM Joe Natuman appointed an Eco-Industrial Park Working Committee (EIPWC – remember this one, too). VIPA is also involved. Councillors have received and given a variety of questions, many concerning land ownership. Land occupancy and ownership or leaseholding will follow the law and be made through the province. Chief Tangis of Fanafo seems ready to support the project. A mini township is foreseen. Youth employment is an important catalyst for making such a project work. Job opportunities are few ain the area. (Daily Post)

Sanma’s President John Olo Aru, however, is particularly concerned about Willie Jimmy Tapangararua’s plans to register the ‘healing’ water daily lapped up and bathed in by dozens if not hundreds at Luganville. The land should not have been leased out: it is public land, he said. (Daily Post)

The Government Revenue Committee is recommending a review of the Vanuatu Shipping Registry. Such a step was required be The Government Revenue Committee before the end of the year anyway. (Daily Post)