New Caledonia

France sends 30 police to New Caledonia

This followed a call for police reinforcement by the administrator in New Caledonia's Southern Province following recent violence around protests related to the Vale nickel plant

The French Overseas Minister, Sebastien Lecornu, confirmed the deployment of another 30 special police and investigators.

He noted that almost 1500 French police were in New Caledonia, more than five times more police than in rural parts of mainland France.


New Caledonia lockdown is extended

The French territory entered a lockdown earlier this month after new community cases of the coronavirus were confirmed.

Furthermore, covid cases have exploded in the neighbouring French territory of Wallis and Futuna, adding further risks.

Authorities in New Caledonia suggest the lockdown has controlled the latest surge of infections.

But they have issued an extension to ensure the end of community transmission.

By April, France is expected to have supplied 42,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine to New Caledonia.


Cyclone Niran causes damage and injures one in New Caledonia

The cyclone hit today generating gusts of up to 220km/h.

RRB radio reported a child was injured by shards of glass from a bay window during the storm.

About 20,000 people are without power and roofs have also been ripped off buildings in the town of Dumbéa, on the outskirts of Noumea.

Several ships have also been forced aground on the coast in Noumea although according to a provisional report, no major damage was recorded following this cyclone, the intensity of which was a little lower than expected.

Severe tropical storm heads to New Caledonia

The category five tropical cyclone Niran has sustained winds of over 200kph and is moving towards New Caledonia at 43km.

Julian Leduc, a Forecaster with the New Caledonia weather office, said the system is 230kms west of the far north of New Caledonia.

"And we begin to have strong gusts on the northern part of the island with 50 knots," he said.

"And its forecast to cross to the main island during the morning, and later today to the southern part of the island."

The system has been hovering in the Coral Sea for the last few days.

New Caledonia's pro-independence camp wins historic election

The vote follows the collapse this month of the tenuous power sharing government led by conservative president Thierry Santa.

New Caledonia's 54 seat Congress has cast its votes for a new 11 member government.

The anti-independence coalition of loyalists, L'Avenir en Confiance got 18 votes securing four ministerial portfolios and Caledonie Ensemble secured one portfolio with six votes.

7.7 quake off New Caledonia's Loyalty Islands

Geoscience Australia says the quake, which struck early this morning, had an epicentre 400 kilometres east of the town of Tadine.

Seismic data indicates the undersea earthquake struck at a depth of 54 kilometres.

Several aftershocks of up to magnitude 6.1 have occurred.

The U.S. Tsunami Warning System says hazardous tsunami waves up to a level of 1 metre above the normal tide level are possible for coasts within 1-thousand kilometres of the epicentre with New Caledonia, Vanuatu particularly at risk.

Cyclone Lucas leaves damages in New Caledonia

The cyclone was a category two when it tore through the French territory.

The territory's south in particular experienced bad weather.

The system passed close to the capital Noumea, as well as the Isle of Pines.

Journalist, Andre Qaeze, said the cyclone caused flooding, felled trees, and damaged homes as well as buildings in the territory.

Cyclone Lucas has now been downgraded to a tropical low.


Photo source Chave Weather 


Vaccination programme rolls out in the French territories

The Pfizer vaccine programme began on 20 January and requires two doses with a 21 day interval between jabs.

The programme is funded by Paris and is free but not compulsory.

And French Polynesian health authorities have given the first of a two dose Covid-19 vaccine to 1526 of its most at-risk people.

The vaccination campaign began on 18 January with Phase One focusing on health workers and those over 75 on Tahiti and Mo'orea.

Hospital staff on Ra'iatea and Nuku Hiva are also being inoculated.

They will receive their second jab in February.

Pacific churches to meet in New Caledonia during 2022 referendum

The pro-independence FLNKS movement said it would exercise its right under the Noumea Accord to call the final and third vote in 2022 amid a push by the rival side to get France to thwart it.

Ten days ago, 46 percent voted for independence, fuelling expectations that fewer abstentions among Kanak voters next time will see the pro-independence camp win.

Netani Rika, of the Pacific Conference of Churches secretariat in Suva, said the PCC was working with the Protestant church in New Caledonia.

New Caledonia again rejects independence from France

Just over 53 percent of the electorate opted for the status quo in the second of three possible referendums under the Noumea Accord.

180,000 voters, who are on a roll restricted to indigenous Kanaks and long-term residents, were allowed to decide whether the territory should assume full sovereignty.

The results showed a sharp divide between the two camps, with some communes voting with more than 90 percent either for or against independence.