Shelter, food and water in short supply for Ambae volcano evacuees

Evacuees recently disembarked from a landing vessel line the shore at Waluriki, north Ambae island yesterday. Photo: John Metojoe/Facebook

Evacuees recently disembarked from a landing vessel line the shore at Waluriki, north Ambae island yesterday. Photo: John Metojoe/Facebook

The Vanuatu Government has released Vt 200 million for the Read the rest of this entry »

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Vanuatu and France to hold border talks

Bathymetric map showing the boundary of the New Hebrides tectonic plate and the Australian plate. Matthew and Hunter sit on the New Hebrides plate, while New Caledonia sits on the Australian plate.

Bathymetric map showing the boundary of the New Hebrides tectonic plate and the Australian plate. Matthew and Hunter sit on the New Hebrides plate, while New Caledonia sits on the Australian plate.

Hunter Island

Hunter Island

The big outstanding issue with France — Matthew and Hunter Islands — is soon to be the subject of discussion in border talks which will take place at the Forum Fisheries Agency in Honiara. PM Charlot Salwai revealed this after the PM had held discussions with the French Minister of Overseas Territories, Annick Girardin, in Apia at the Pacific Islands Forum Leader’s meeting earlier this month. The border talks will be held in October. Vanuatu requires that the Ocean Policy covering climate and other issues be consulted as regional issues. Despite this, France and Fiji have already signed a border treaty without Vanuatu. Such a treaty will also be necessary between Fiji and Vanuatu.

Matthew Island

Matthew Island

PM Salwai pointed out that France was aware of Vanuatu’s Independence from 1980, and he said that Vanuatu should have been consulted when Fiji and France signed their border agreement. “This is why Vanuatu continues to dispute France’s claims and the treaty with Fiji. There are geographical reasons, cultural and traditional reasons it has in line with Melanesian spirit, Melanesian culture. We have the word of the Kanaks and senators of New Caledonia who expressed support for our positions last year”, said the Prime Minister. He mentioned two times this year when his government had taken up the issue with Paris — in January — and at MSG meetings. PM Salwai hoped the issue could be broached in this year’s United Nations General Assembly beginning in a few days.

The Supreme Court has dismissed a claim 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 »


Vanuatu community organisations petition Australia over its support of Indonesian military units involved in killings of Papuans

Video still of Detachment 88 troops firing live rounds at civilians attending the Third Papuan People’s Congress, October 19, 2011. Photo: West Papua Media

Video still showing members of Detachment 88 firing live rounds at civilians attending the 3rd Papuan People’s Congress, October 19, 2011. Photo: West Papua Media

The Vanuatu’s leading national community-based organisations are petitioning the Australian Government to “stop the killing [of] Melanesian people in West Papua” by way of providing financial support and military training for elite Indonesian Kopassus and Densus (Detachment) 88 military and police units, made possible through Australian bilateral military cooperation with Indonesia. Apart from the Vanuatu Free West Papua Association, organisations signing the petition include the Malvatumauri, VNCW, VANGO and the National Youth Council. All bodies remain convinced that indigenous peoples have an inalienable right to freedom and sovereignty over their national territory. The Australian Government is petitioned to respect all the instruments on Human Rights adopted and proclaimed by the UN General Assembly. (Daily Post)

Government will ensure stability in the maintenance of services to the people. This was another of the points made Wednesday evening in the Prime Minister’s Read the rest of this entry »


New Year’s messages call on people of Vanuatu to play active role in nation’s prosperity

In his New Year message, President Baldwin Lonsdale has spoken of the God-given challenges Vanuatu faces at this time. He feels that the fresh elections last year were necessary to bring Vanuatu a new, more youthful and better educated leadership. They were needed to ensure the economic prosperity not possible because of the political instability of previous years. (Radio Vanuatu)

For his New Year address to the people of the Republic, Prime Minister Charlot Salwai concentrated on the new blueprint the country had been offered for a sustainable prosperity with his Government’s adoption of Read the rest of this entry »


“Vanuatu is not free until all of Melanesia is free”—Vanuatu Govt reiterates its support for Papuan independence to MSG leaders

Members of Vanuatu's Government including PM Charlot Salwai (centre, in bird of paradise headdress) with leaders of the Papuan independence movement yesterday in Port Vila. Photo: Jen Robinson

Members of Vanuatu’s Government including Prime Minister Charlot Salwai (centre, in bird of paradise headdress) with leaders of the Papuan independence movement yesterday in Port Vila. Photo: Jen Robinson

“Free West Papua” graffiti on cement walls around town sums up Vanuatu’s Christmas wish for its Melanesian brothers and sisters meeting now in Port Vila. Welcoming independence leaders from the Indonesian ruled territory, Prime Minister Charlot Salwai reiterated Vanuatu’s strong stand in favour of independence for West Papua—and for French Polynesia and New Caledonia. Vanuatu’s stance on decolonization remains as strong as it was during our own independence 36 years ago. West Papua campaigner, Benny Wenda, told Daily Post of the Melanesian spirit which binds the people of Melanesia in their attempt to be granted full membership of the Melanesian Spearhead Group. Demonstrations to this effect have been taking place in West Papua and it is reported that one demonstrator was killed and 528 arrested, recently, including six children of less than ten years of age.

It is good news to have Read the rest of this entry »


Air Vanuatu Twin Otter cable snap incident under investigation

File photo of an Air Vanuatu Twin Otter at Gaua Airport. Photo: Olivier Morice/Wikimedia Commons

File photo of an Air Vanuatu Twin Otter at Gaua Airport. Photo: Olivier Morice/Wikimedia Commons

The broken cable which caused “technical difficulties” with the Twin Otter plane at Walaha just over a week ago is being investigated. Air Vanuatu, Vanuatu Civil Aviation and Civil Aviation NZ are conducting the inquiry. The cable was manufactured in New Zealand. The break was potentially very serious, but occurred just as the plane was landing and the pilot handled the matter majestically, Air Vanuatu advises. Good news for Air Vanuatu safety at the same time is the airline’s passing of its IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA). CEO Joseph Laloyer said the results of the 2016 audit were the best ever achieved by the company. (Daily Post)

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