South African High Commissioner’s visit highlights links, shared values

South Africa's flag looks somewhat familiar…

Seeing double: South Africa’s flag looks somewhat familiar…

A visit from the South African High Commissioner has enabled the distinguished visitor to recall some of the events of the two countries which were to a degree in parallel just before our Independence. These, of course were the Read the rest of this entry »

Vanuatu switches into recovery mode as Cyclone Donna moves away

Government building left hanging at Tagabe after Cyclone Donna flooding. Photo: Joel Ates via Facebook

Government building left hanging at Tagabe after Cyclone Donna flooding. Photo: Joel Ates via Facebook

Cyclone Donna has moved on to New Caledonia and is now weakening. The only major damage so far reported – except for garden damage – was along the length of the Forestry Department HQ at Tagabe where a deep gorge has been carved out by floodwater from Cyclone Donna overflowing the Read the rest of this entry »

Donna now Category 5 cyclone; wind gusts up to 300km/h

Severe Tropical Cyclone Donna has been upgraded to a Category 5 system. Currently, it is about offshore, 295km off Malakula, and 370km west of Efate. Its offshore trajectory means that Vanuatu’s islands will be spared the full force of the most destructive winds, which are gusting at 300km/h. However, Vanuatu Meteo is taking no chances and is warning of destructive winds up to 160km/h tonight in Sanma, Malampa and Shefa provinces. Heavy rainfall, flooding and storm surges are also likely.

No loss of life or major damage to homes or infrastructure have been reported by Read the rest of this entry »

Cyclone Donna reaches Cat 4 strength offshore: alerts remain in place

TC Donna is now a Category 4 cyclone, with winds at the centre of 165km/h and gusts up to 235km/h. It stretches the full length of the country. Damage to buildings and crops have been reported in the Torres and Banks islands. All domestic flights in the country are cancelled.

Cyclone Donna continues to wobble out at sea, but nevertheless remains extremely dangerous. The track forecast by Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-hazards Dept shows it weakening and heading away towards New Caledonia. However, the US Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Center warns that Cyclone Donna’s full intensity may not be felt for another 48 hours, and its path will remain erratic.

Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Nauru Palau and the Marshall Islands delivered a hard-hitting joint statement on the plight of West Papua to the 79-member Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States meeting at ministerial level this week in Brussels. Authored by MP Johnny Koanapo, Parliamentary Secretary for the Prime Minister’s Office, the packed council room was trans-fixed as he described Indonesia’s violations and the West Papuan slow-motion genocide. (Daily Post). Read the rest of this entry »

Cyclone Donna turns to southeast; future path and intensity unclear

A school on Vanua Lava damaged by Cyclone Donna. Photo: Joshua Bule/Facebook

A school on Vanua Lava damaged by Cyclone Donna. Photo: Joshua Bule/Facebook

As of the latest cyclone warning #16 from the Vanuatu Meteorology Dept, at 3pm today Category 3 Tropical Cyclone Donna was about 80km NNW of the Torres Islands and 215km NW of Gaua, moving slowly in a southeast direction at 5km/h. Central pressure is 954 hPa. Winds at the centre were estimated to be 145km/h gusting to 205km/h. Schools have been told to close in the northern provinces. The image above shows damage from Cyclone Donna to a school on Vanua Lava.

Most meteorological forecast models predict Cyclone Donna will take a path away from Vanuatu’s islands and will weaken over the next three days as it heads southeast. However, this cyclone is very slow moving and could change direction and intensity at any time, so please prepare for the worst. This is still a very dangerous cyclone, and it will bring destructive storm surges, flooding and heavy rain even if it doesn’t make landfall. We’ll keep you updated here. Read the rest of this entry »

Vanuatu journalists mark World Press Freedom Day in Port Vila

World Press Freedom Day 2017

Today is World Press Freedom Day. This morning, the Media Association of Vanuatu (MAV) organised a march in support of media freedom through downtown Port Vila. Prime Minister Charlot Salwai addressed the journalists and producers in attendance. A free press is critical to a functioning democracy, and something worth fighting for.

The retrial of the Conspiracy case has been adjourned until 6 June. The former MPs Read the rest of this entry »

Korman area squatters served eviction notice

Residents of a squatter settlement recently established in the Korman area of the capital have been given two weeks to move out. Police issued the notice to the people living behind the Read the rest of this entry »