Pacific Islands

Pacific pharmacists reaching out to communities during lockdown

The Pacific Pharmacists Association is a pharmaceutical workforce that aims to meet the health needs of Pacific people in accordance with their culture, custom and heritage.

Auckland is currently on alert level three, while the rest of New Zealand is on alert level two. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said the settings would be reviewed on 21 August.

Mental health support for Pasifika receives funding

Associate Health Minister Jenny Salesa recently announced a $NZ1.5 million boost to grow primary mental health and addiction services for Pacific peoples in Auckland, Hamilton and Canterbury.

K'Aute Pasifika Trust in Hamilton, which provided services for children and young people, and a day programme for adults, received funding to grow its services.

Chief Executive Leaupepe Rachel Karalus said the funding would make a significant impact now as there was increased anxiety among Pacific children and young people the last time New Zealand was in lockdown.

'Pacific neighbours in far greater need' of travel bubble - specialist workers

Auckland Airport said it would physically divide operations to allow unrestricted travel to and from the Covid-free Cook Islands. Wellington Airport also said it could segregate flyers.

But the government here is exercising caution, frustrating specialist workers with contracts and commitments in Pacific Island countries.

NZ makes new Pacific diplomatic appointments

Helen Tunnah, who currently works in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Covid-19 response team, has been posted to Niue, having previously worked in Vanuatu and Brazil.

Richard Griffith will be High Commissioner to Nauru, but based in Wellington.

He has previously been posted to Solomon Islands and Australia.

     

Pacific airlines holding out for NZ and Australia to reopen

George Faktaufon said Pacific airlines are not going to be able to count on national government support for handouts to keep them afloat, and the clock is already ticking for some airlines.

"It's very hard to plan for something that you are not quite sure when it's going to happen, because we have always planned for something that is certain, but the plan is depending on when Australia and New Zealand are opening up," he said.

     

COVID-19 and its likely impact on the tuna industry in the Pacific Islands

Approximately 60 percent of the raw material for the global tuna canning market comes from the WCPO. There are two reasons why COVID-19’s impact on the tuna industry should be monitored.

First, shelf-stable foods, such as canned tuna, have taken on a new level of significance for food security. Second, Pacific island countries are dependent on revenues from the licensing of fishing vessels.

US increases support for Pacific Covid-19 response by over $32m

The bulk of the funds will go to its Freely Associated States with Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau receiving over $US27.5-million from various federal agencies.

Other Pacific countries will receive a combined total of $US3.3-million from USAID while Papua New Guinea will get a separate $US1.2-million.

The funding announced late last week is on top of the more than $US32-million already committed by Washington since the start of the pandemic.

People getting back to their roots in backyard gardening amid coronavirus lockdowns

The Pacific has a high dependency on food imports; for example, Fiji imports 85 per cent of its rice from Vietnam and Thailand.

Pacific Beat understands that the Australian government is currently reviewing each Pacific nation's food security risk, with some concern that while borders may be left open for cargo, not all ships may continue to operate.

More than 40,000 Pasifika assisted in NZ during Covid-19 lockdown

The Pasifika Medical Association through Pasifika Futures- the Whanau Ora commissioning agency for Pacific families - said nearly 7500 packages had been delivered to families since the lockdown was announced on 23 March.

In its latest data released on Friday, the association said 7497 families received the packages supporting 40,231 individuals.

It said almost 50 percent of families needed the assistance due to loss of income, with 76 percent unable to meet essential needs and eight percent had a family member who was sick.

Pacific nations stay vigilant against coronavirus in cyclone's aftermath

Cyclone Harold, a Category 5 storm with winds in excess of 251 km/h passed through the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga, cutting power and destroying holiday resorts.

Dozens of people were killed when they were swept off a ferry off Solomon Islands.

Tonga's government said on Friday the island of 'Eua was without electricity and a number of houses were damaged, but no deaths had been reported.

Although no deaths were reported in Fiji, 26 people were injured and more than 6,000 people were evacuated from their homes during the storm.