Thursday, June 29, 2023

Chinese Embassy donated over 300 mattresses to the 7th Melanesian Arts and Culture Festival

Chinese Embassy donated over 300 mattresses to the 7th Melanesian Arts and Culture Festival
Sample of the mattresses.

By Doddy Morris
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Over 300 mattresses were handed over to the 7th Melanesian Arts and Cultural Festival (MACFEST) Organising Committee by the Chinese Embassy in Vanuatu yesterday.

The handover was made at the Cultural Centre in Port Vila by Mrs. Lin Ying, wife of Chinese Ambassador to Vanuatu, Mr. Li Minggang, to the Director of the Cultural Center, Mr. Richard Shing.

These mattresses represent China’s support and blessings for the Festival and symbolise the deep friendship between China and Vanuatu. On behalf of the People’s Republic of China, Mrs. Lin said it was with honour and with great pleasure, as someone who cherishes cultural exchanges to contribute to the upcoming MACFEST.

“We respect the diversity of world civilisations. We uphold the principles of equality, mutual learning, dialogue and inclusiveness among civilizations,” she said.

“We support cultural exchanges and oppose estrangement. We pursue mutual learning and avoid cultural clashes. We promote peaceful coexistence and reject superiority.”

She continues to state that as treasures of cultural heritage in the world, Chinese civilisation and Melanesian civilisation have a long history.

Mrs. Lin also announced that the Foshan Art Troupe of China will visit Port Vila during the 7th MACFEST, bringing performances of traditional Chinese martial arts and acrobatics to the people of Vanuatu.

She believes this will further deepen people-to-people relations between China and Vanuatu and enhance the profound friendship between the two countries.

Mrs. Lin wishes the 7th MACFEST a great success.

In response, Director Shing expressed his gratitude for the two parties’ cooperation, partnership, and support.

“We are extremely appreciative of the Chinese Embassy for being the first nation to favourably reply to our request for sponsorship,” he said. According to the Director, this was not the first time as they received sponsorship from the Chinese Embassy.

“We have worked together to promote our cultures on numerous occasions in the past, and this time we are grateful and happy to be able to promote not only our Melanesian cultures but also the associations and participation of our cultural group, as well as cultures from China,” Shing said.

“We very happy that you have assisted us, not only for sponsorship, but also assisting us with cultural group that will also entertain our people during this event.

“On behalf of the Melanesian Arts and Cultural Festival committee and cultural institutions around Vanuatu, we would like to say big thank you to the Chinese Embassy, the Chinese Government for the sponsorship of these mattresses.”

These mattresses will be given to the participants who will be accommodated at Malapoa College, Lycée Louis Antoine de Bougainville, and Vanuatu Institute of Technology. The mattresses will then be given to the schools after the Festival so that the pupils can use them in the future.

The Director went on to say that Melanesia and China share many historical connections with Vanuatu, viewing society as a whole and as individuals, cooperating with one another to advance and grow in the years to come.

“Most inhabitants of Melanesia and the Pacific countries came from China 7 to 10, 000 years ago, we have a connection that goes way back and we would like to work on that to ensure the good development not only for Vanuatu and Melanesian, but also our region as a whole,” Director Shing concluded.

Sunday, May 21, 2023


New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins is only the second Prime Minister from that country to visit the Gordon's Market.

The first was his predecessor Jacinda Ardern, when she opened the market facility in 2018.

Mr. Hipkins visited the market at Gordons this morning, accompanied by NCD Governor, Powes Parkop.

Gordons Market is a testament of the strong and growing bilateral relationship between Papua New Guinea and New Zealand in the areas of trade, agriculture and cultural exchange.

Meantime, Mr. Hipkins will also meet the Governor-General and address the Forum for India and Pacific Islands Corporation Summit currently underway at the APEC House in Port Moresby.

NBC News – Bathsheba Sanau

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Fiji Prime Minister Moves to PM house

Tonight, my family will be spending our first night in the official residence of the Prime Minister at 70 Ratu Sukuna Road. Our Donu home in Namadi Heights has been good to us, but the call of the nation means we have to relocate to the home provided for the Head of Government.

Before settling in for the night, we were honoured to host Turaga Talatala ena Tabacakacaka ko Nasinu, the Reverend Isireli Kacimaiwai who prayed and blessed the residence.

I'm glad Talatala Kacimaiwai did the honours because he has been with me and the Party I lead, The People's Alliance through thick and thin.

Actually, this used to be the residence of the Chief Justice until my predecessor decided to make it the PM residence.
The real official residence of the Prime Minister is actually next door. It was built during my first time as Prime Minister from 1992 to 1999. We were a small family then, and we spent some happy days there. This residence has fallen into disrepair unfortunately, and hopefully once the financial situation of our economy improves, there will be funds available to give it a good facelift.

But that's for the future. As for now, 70 Ratu Sukuna Road is home.

Being with Air Niugini for almost 46 years

Being with Air Niugini for almost 46 years, Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer(LAME) Alcan Mattiunga knows his job like the palm of his hand. 

He has successfully acquired several aircraft maintenance licenses over the years including that of Fokker F28, Fokker 70, Fokker 100 and also the Boeing 737 aircraft.

It’s an impressive feat, however LAME Mattiunga from Viviran village in Gazelle Electorate, East New Britain Province,   says what satisfies him more is training and mentoring young Papua New Guineans to also pick up their licenses.

Pictured here, LAME Mattiunga(on the left) sharing a lighter moment with Dash 8 LAME, Damien Kadiko at the hangar at 7 Mile here in Port Moresby.

Monday, March 6, 2023

Vanuatu Braces for Another Cyclone Following Judy’s Devastation

Just one day after being battered by Tropical Cyclone (TC) Judy, Vanuatu is bracing itself for a second cyclone which is intensifying with the possibility of developing into a category 3 system.

Tropical Cyclone (TC) Kevin will bring more destruction while the people are still cleaning-up after category 3 TC Judy. Some homes have not been rebuilt and the government is yet to assess the widespread damage.

Warnings have already been issued for strong winds, heavy rainfalls and rough swells before the occurrence of TC Kevin.

The severe weather has triggered suspension of both domestic and international flights while ships, boats and small fishing rafts are advised not to go out to sea.

Some essential services like the banks will be temporarily closed today. Disruptions to electricity and telecommunication services are possible and government workers will resume work once the situation is declared all clear.

As of yesterday night, a Red Alert has been issued for SANMA, MALAMPA and PENAMA Provinces, Yellow Alert for TORBA and SHEFA.

Originated south of Solomon Islands, TC Kevin was upgraded to category 2 yesterday. As of yesterday night, it was positioned about 330km west of Santo and 430km west northwest of Malekula.

According to the Manager of the Weather Forecast Section, Fred Jockley, the cyclone will pass near the central and southern parts of Vanuatu.

It is likely the system will develop into a category 2 system and will further strengthen into a category 3 system, he said. He added that the system is expected to make landfall on Tanna on Saturday, tomorrow.

The cyclone is expected to leave Vanuatu water by tomorrow.

According to Weather Forecast Manager Jockley, this is not the first time for them to issue warnings for two systems in Vanuatu’s area of responsibility simultaneously.

People are advised to take precautions and follow advices from the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department (VMGD) and the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) to keep safe.

Meanwhile, the extent of the damage from the two systems will be known once the government make a full assessment. Based on initial reports, there is widespread damage to buildings, homes and crops in affected areas.


Flooding, landslides in WNB

March 6, 2023 The National PNG

Houses affected by flooding.

Homes churches and schools have been hit with flooded, with landslides closing off roads and displacing families as the National Weather Service issues a strong wind and thunderstorm warning for the next 24 hours in West New Britain.

Governor Sasindran Muthuvel told The National yesterday that the provincial government was working with provincial disaster office, to assess the damage and respond to the disaster.

“Some homes, churches and schools are submerged in water, including roads while some roads are blocked off with debris, we are also working with Provincial Department of Works and Highway to help clear some roads.

“Some private road construction companies and local youths are also helping us clear roads.

“We have a full team deployed to collect data on the damages but if the rain continues for the next 24 hours, then we may be looking at an even bigger disaster with not only floods but landslides as well,” he said.

Talasea MP, Freddie Reu Kumai had written to the Prime Minister James Marape to direct all relevant Government departments and entities to support and provide relief supplies and accessories for displaced families in affected communities.

“Particularly for Talasea Rural local level governemnt (LLG) and within Kimbe Urban LLG.

“Generally, the roads are greatly affected, in the last 24 hours, heavy rains have caused a total washout of the main Talasea-Kimbe Highway.

“In Kimbe town, a road in ward four was washed away with parts of the main highway closed off with debris from the flood and landslides,” Kumai said.

He also said that many families were displaced by flooding and landslides.

“In ward one area of Talasea Rural covering Kumbago Plantation, Dagi LSS and Nahavio settlements, it is a complete washout with more than 500 families displaced, another 600 families at Aling and more than 150 families in Gigo settlement are all displaced.”

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service has issued a 24 hour strong winds warning of up to 33 knots and thunderstorms for the province.

National Weather Service duty forecaster Peter Warupi told The National that strong winds and rain would continue for the next 24 hours, as the country hit the peak of its wet season.

“There was also a tropical low near the Coral Sea area over the last couple of weeks that added on to this.

“We have also issued a warning to small craft owners,” he said.

Tropical Cyclone in Vanuatu: Over 400 Evacuated

As a result of Tropical Cyclone (TC) Judy, over 400 people on Efate have been evacuated to four different evacuation centers: Anglican Church, Nangire Church, Vanuatu Christian Council (VCC), and Wan Smolbag (WSB).

SHEFA Provincial Disaster Officer at the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), Eddy Maliliu, said, there were only four evacuation centers that they have identified for people to move to if their homes are not safe.

“With the help of the Police Operation Center, over 400 people were moved to the evacuation centers during TC Judy,” he said.

“The Anglican Church accommodates a total of 31 people, Nangire Church holds 11 people, VCC has 34, and WSB a total of 380 people.”

Mr. Maliliu said many of the people who have been evacuated are those whose homes have been flooded and damaged.

“Therefore, people who have lost their houses and belongings were advised to stay in the evacuation centers until it is safe for them to return,” he said.

“We understand that there is another cyclone that is coming, however, people who have gone back to their houses can still come back to the evacuation centers.”

The duty forecaster at the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-hazards Department (VMGD), Gino Leo, has confirmed that, Vanuatu is expecting another cyclone today.

“As of 12pm yesterday, the cyclone was located in the west of Torres, with a force that has reached category 1,” he said.

“Named Kevin, this TC is moving in a east and south east direction.”

Mr. Leo added that it is most likely that Vanuatu will experience strong gale force winds as it has been monitored that TC Kevin will travel across central Vanuatu.

Meanwhile, Mr. Maliliu reiterated that people need to be responsive to the warnings that NDMO has been issuing, as the cyclone is on its way.

“Yesterday, people were moving into the evacuation centers during the red alert, which is not good and unsafe,” he said.

“With the cyclone that is fast approaching, people who think that their home is not safe should move quickly to a safe house or an evacuation center before the red alert.”

VSAT connects Tanna and Aneityum to outside world

Tropical Cyclone (TC) Judy caused extensive damage to infrastructure and homes in the southern islands of Tanna, Aneityum, and Erromango in Vanuatu. The cyclone knocked out telecommunication networks in the affected areas, leaving residents cut off from the outside world.

Despite this, Williams Worwor from the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) was able to provide updates on the situation using satellite-based Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSAT). He confirmed that both the Digicel and Vodafone networks were down in Tanna, and he was using VSAT to relay information to the outside world.

Photos shared by Mr. Worwor on Facebook showed the destruction caused by the cyclone in the Lenakel area, including thick earth blocking the road to Isangel. Meanwhile, Selwyn Daniel, the Aneityum Area Administrator, also confirmed that both telecommunication networks were down since Wednesday night, and he was communicating through VSAT.

Mr. Daniel reported that the destruction on parts of Aneityum that he visited yesterday was not as severe as expected. There was no flash flooding reported, although most rivers rose higher than their level before reducing to their normal level. However, the island’s residents are facing a significant challenge in the coming days as their root crops may spoil soon.

On Erromango, the Category 4 cyclone caused significant damage. The Area Secretary for North Erromango, Remy Nambill, reported that most family homes on the southern part of the island were destroyed, and there was flash flooding and damaged gardens. One incident involved a tree falling on a family home and injuring a mother. Food security will be a significant concern for the island’s residents in the coming days.

Families whose homes were destroyed have relocated to the nearest settlements as they await Cyclone Kevin. The TAFEA Provincial Secretary General and Minister of Sports, MP Tomker Netvunei, are aware of the situation on the ground. However, with telecommunication networks down, the recovery efforts may face significant challenges.