Vanuatu’s Emae island to host Mini Agriculture show in June

The senior officers of the Extension and Technical Division of the Vanuatu Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) have decided that Emae island will host the Mini Agriculture Show.

Shefa Provincial Agriculture Officer (PAO) Willie Iau, confirmed that, the main theme for the Mini Agriculture Show is ‘Grow Organic, Eat local and Think global’.

“According to the DARD Business plan 2019, the Mini Agriculture Show on Emae is part of the preparation towards 2020 National Agriculture Festival on Tanna”.

Cyclone Oma weakens, drops to a category two

In the past 3 hours, Tropical Cyclone Oma was slow moving west south-westerly at 4 kph and away from Vanuatu.

Earlier, it had stalled west of Vanuatu's biggest island of Santo.

The storm had lashed the northern islands of the country over the past 24 hours, reportedly bringing down trees and houses in the area.

The cyclone is about 280 kilometres west southwest of Santo and 365 kilometres west northwest of Malekula.

The storm is packing gusts of up to 110 km/hr.

Cyclone Oma pelts Vanuatu for third day

The storm, still a category two, is about 295 kilometres west-southwest of the country's largest island.

It's followed an unusual path and completed three loops off Santo's western coast.

In doing this, the island's been lashed with torrential rains, strong storm surges, and winds in excess of 100 kilometres an hour.

The Vanuatu Meteorological Service says Oma's proving difficult to forecast, but it is gradually moving southwest away from Vanuatu.

However, storm warnings are still in force for at least the next 24 hours.


Vanuatu waiting for cyclone to clear to assess damage

The government has issued its highest alert level of red for Torba, Sanma, Penama and Melampa provinces.

Oma is still a category two system and was sitting 145km west of Santo at 8am local time this morning.

It is heading in a north north-east direction towards Santo's north-west, with winds as high as 130km/h at its centre.

Authorities in Vanuatu are warning of torrential rain, damaging winds and violent storm surges.

The Meteorological Service has described the sea swells in the area as phenomenal and is urging people to stay inland.

Vanuatu’s Ambrym volcano lowered to level 2

The department said current volcanic activity is consistent with the Volcanic Alert Level 2.

This declined activity and the presence of active faults in the South-Eastern part of Ambrym have contributed to the change of current danger zones of Ambrym volcano.

Latest satellite imagery and observations in the field from 3 to 9 February 2019 confirm the presence of open cracks and active faults in Paamal village and its vicinity and the uplift at the coastal area of South-East Ambrym.

According to the department, these fractures are oriented in the WSW-ENE direction.

Big tourism investment opportunity in Vanuatu

Tranquillity Island Resort on Beautiful Moso Island, North Efate, is looking for an investor to partner for development as far as possible for its 380 hectares of what must be one of the most unique profiles in Vanuatu.

The project proposal has been shared with Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) NZ’s Investment team and is listed on the investment website Pacific Hub.

Indonesia urges Vanuatu to improve treatment of women

Vanuatu's government has this week been undergoing its universal periodic review at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

A number of countries have sought updates on gender equality from Vanuatu.

Indonesia's representative, Irwansyah Mukhlis, said his country had deep concerns regarding the condition of women in Vanuatu.

He said despite Vanuatu's attempts at improving human rights since its last review, violence against women remained a problem.

Two confirmed cases of whooping cough in Santo

A statement from the Ministry said as of January 29, 2019, two cases have been confirmed by clinical testing

The cases are Okoro village in Santo and Aore Island.

MOH confirmed that the two victims were hospitalized at Northern Provincial Hospital in Santo and are being carefully monitored by the focal surveillance officer in Luganvillle.

The Ministry of Health is advising parents that Pertussis is preventable and urges them to ensure that their children are up-to-date in their vaccination schedule.

Aid workers warn of Ambae evacuees' vulnerability

Thousands of former Ambae residents remain in temporary settlements on nearby Santo, in often flimsy and leaky tents.

Kevin Kapalu from World Vision Vanuatu says thousands of people remaining on Santo are already suffering because of heavy rainfall.

But he said if there is not enough warning, a cyclone could be devastating for the evacuees.

"It will be another challenge if there's another cyclone within this cyclone period, then that will add another disaster on top, so they will become more vulnerable."

New Zealand expands security cooperation programme with Vanuatu

“New Zealand and Vanuatu have worked together in the law enforcement and justice sectors for a long time. We’re now looking to extend that cooperation by providing additional support to the Vanuatu Police Force and significantly stepping-up our defence assistance,” said New Zealand High Commissioner to Vanuatu, Jonathan Schwass.

New Zealand will provide NZ $7 million [VUV 540 million] in policing support, including the deployment of three New Zealand Police officers to advise on community and preventative policing, road policing, prosecutions, and investigations.