Vanuatu

Tonga Government defends last minute cancellation of flight from Vanuatu

It said when the Air Vanuatu special flight arrived in Tonga today the quarantine facilities were already full with passengers who were repatriated back to Tonga on May 5.

Communication and Information CEO Paula Ma’u told Kaniva News the special flight was chartered by a Ni Vanuatu expatriate in Tonga to return his deceased father to Vanuatu.

Vanuatu citizens who were stranded in Tonga have returned home on that special flight.

Division over NZ's RSE worker boost, Pacific reacts

New Zealand's Government announced this month about 2400 more migrant workers will be allowed into the country for seasonal horticultural work, many from the Pacific Islands.

Pacific governments remain keen to get as many of their workers into New Zealand's Recognised Seasonal Employer, or RSE, scheme, as possible

But Unions and economists say fruit and vegetable pickers from the Pacific Islands suffer high costs and poor pay and are often left with almost no money to send home.

ADB approves US$18.9 million for rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in the Pacific

The grants to Samoa (US$8 million), Tonga (US$5.5 million), Tuvalu (US$1.5 million), and Vanuatu (US$3.9 million) will support their COVID-19 vaccination programmes for a combined population of almost 600,000 people. The project is financed by ADB’s US$9 billion Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility launched in December 2020 to offer rapid and equitable vaccine-related support to ADB’s DMCs.

ANZ extends fee waiver for money transfers to Pacific

Latest figures show the value and volume of transfers made by ANZ customers to the Pacific has increased substantially on the same period last year.

In February 2021 ANZ Australia and New Zealand customers sent a combined volume of 8,761 International Money Transfers worth AUD$12m (US$9.2 million) – a 95 percent increase in volume and 33 percent increase in value compared with the same period last year.

Money sent back to the Pacific from overseas, known as remittances, can make up a large part of a Pacific household's disposable income - up to 25 percent.

Japan to give $41 million aid to Asian and Pacific nations over vaccine supply

The Foreign Ministry said Tuesday the grant aid will be used to secure cold-storage facilities, transport vehicles and other equipment necessary for the stable delivery of vaccines in those countries, including Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, according to the ministry.

Japan aims to help ensure the delivery of vaccines "to each and every person in the all corners of developing countries" with the hope of containing the coronavirus pandemic as quickly as possible, it said, adding the aid will be delivered through the United Nations Children's Fund.

New campaign to help Pacific islanders tackle online fraud and keep remittances flowing

The ‘Get Safe Online Pacific’ guidance provides essential tips and information for people across the Pacific to help make sure their experience of sending or receiving money overseas is successful, safe and economical.

Sending and receiving remittances to and from Pacific Island countries has become hugely important to the very survival of island nations throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the World Bank, in 2017 alone nearly 20% of Tonga’s GDP came from remittances.

Chef Robert Oliver on steering a Pacific food revolution

Oliver is the creator of Pacific Island Food Revolution, a televised contest in which people compete to create the best dish with ingredients from countries such as Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu.

He said the show aimed to encourage Pacific Island people to eat healthier, more traditional foods and to spice up the tourism industry by getting island restaurants offering tasty local dishes.

Many imported foods that have become popular among Pacific Island people are highly processed and contain large amounts of fat, sugar and salt.

Pacific Heads of Customs administrations pledge to work together

At the conclusion of the OCO Heads Annual Conference on October 20, themed “Working together to build a safer Blue Pacific”, leaders of Customs administrations in the region stated the loss in revenue collection for their governments due to the closure of borders as their biggest cost of COVID-19.

However, in addition to generating revenue for their governments, Customs administrations are increasingly being presented with other challenges such as the rise of illicit drugs, contraband goods and having to crew quarantine centers.

Solomon Airlines plans repatriation charter flights to Vanuatu, Tonga and Australia

A statement said the airline has sought the approval of the Solomon Islands Government and the relevant foreign governments.

The airline’s Airbus A320 aircraft, currently based in Brisbane, will first operate Flight IE614 from Honiara to Port Vila and Tongatapu departing at 8.00am from Henderson International Airport and arriving in Port Vila at 10.00am local time. Flight IE614 will then re-depart at 11.00am landing in Tongatapu at 3.25pm local time.

UAE sends medical aid to Pacific Island countries in fight against COVID-19

The countries include Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Cook Islands, and Niue.

Commenting on the delivery, Abdulla Al Subousi, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the UAE to Australia, said, "Today’s aid shipment to Pacific island countries reflects the UAE’s continued efforts to support and stand by these countries to contain the spread of COVID-19 by providing critical medical supplies and protection to strengthen the efforts of healthcare personnel."