NZ funds $1 million to cyclone-hit Pacific neighbours

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MIL OSI – Source: New Zealand Government – NZ funds $1 million to cyclone-hit Pacific neighbours

The New Zealand government has announced an initial contribution of $1 million to assist Pacific nations hit by Cyclone Pam, Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says.

“Funding includes $200,000 to respond to specific requests for assistance in Vanuatu, Fiji, Tuvalu and Solomon Islands, and $400,000 for NGOs in Vanuatu and Solomon Islands to replenish relief supplies.

“Commencing from tomorrow we will make a further assessment on how we can best assist our Pacific neighbours, as they assess their own needs over the coming days.”

“A RNZAF P3 Orion already in the region is currently conducting a damage assessment flight over Tuvalu, which was first struck by the Cyclone.”

Communications are hugely disrupted in the affected countries and airports in Vanuatu remain closed. New Zealanders in the hardest hit country, Vanuatu, are advised to follow the advice of local authorities, seek suitable shelter, monitor local media for updates and keep friends and family in New Zealand informed of their well-being as soon as they are able.

Consular information:

  • New Zealanders in Vanuatu should continue to follow the advice of the local authorities (including any evacuation orders), seek suitable shelter, monitor local media to stay informed of developments and keep family in New Zealand updated on their wellbeing.
  • New Zealanders with concerns for family in Vanuatu are advised to try contacting them directly in the first instance.  As communications infrastructure has been damaged by the cyclone, we recommend trying short text messages. If there are ongoing concerns, please contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade on 04 439 8000.
  • Please refer to www.safetravel.govt.nz for regular consular updates including Travel Advice on Cyclone Pam.
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade continues to advise New Zealanders against all tourist and non-essential travel to Vanuatu due to the cyclone.
  • There are currently 163 New Zealanders registered with MFAT as being in Vanuatu
  • There have been no requests for consular assistance to date.
  • New Zealanders in Vanuatu wishing to depart are advised to contact their airline, travel agent or travel insurance provider directly to make arrangements.
  • It is anticipated commercial flights will resume once the cyclone has passed and the airport reopens.

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Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues. Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia's FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand's The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.

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