Pacific Islands

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.

Managed transit allows stranded New Zealand travellers to get home

“There are millions of people around the world stranded by COVID-19 and we are continuing to do our part to help them get home,” Mr Peters said. “Accordingly, Cabinet agreed yesterday that New Zealand would seek reciprocal transit arrangements with a number of countries to enable our citizens to transit each other’s airports.

“One barrier to New Zealanders getting home at present is the transit restrictions imposed by a number of countries. We continue to seek assistance from these countries to enable New Zealanders to transit through their airports in order to come home.

WHO says people in Pacific should be prepared for long-term battle

Takeshi Nakai warns the epidemic is far from over and people should be prepared for a long-term battle.

However, Dr Nakai said countries in Asia show there are successful ways of slowing the spread of the pandemic.

He said these include finding, isolating and testing cases early.

Dr Nakai said tracing and quarantining contacts quickly as well as stopping physical interaction is also proven to help.

EU keen to deepen ties with Pacific on number of issues

The EU is one of the region's largest donors, but the Suva-based ambassador, Sujiro Seam, said he was working to make the EU's relationship with the region more than an aid donor.

He said his bloc's support for the Pacific on issues like multilateralism and climate change were increasingly important.

"The top priorities of the new leadership of the European Union is very much on par with the Pacific priority issues. And mainly, it means that the new top priority for the European Union is the European Union green deal."