Li Cuying says an assessment team from China is currently in the country visiting some of worst-affected islands, including Erromango and Tanna. She says a delegation of Chinese officials has also flown to Vanuatu for a series of meetings with government ministers. Li says China is now waiting on the Vanuatu government to determine what its needs are to see what further assistance China can provide. “So you know we haven’t decided on our priorities because we are waiting on the recovery plan of the Vanuatu government. The projects we are going to fund will be based on the recovery plan of the Vanuatu government and our own assessment. So it will be decided later.”
bus driver stymies vanuatu thief
vanuatu – A Vanuatu man who stole a bag of money from a relief concert for victims of Cyclone Pam was arrested thanks to the quick thinking of a local bus driver. The driver said a man hopped on his bus with a bag of coins and offered to pay him many times the required fare to take him to where he wanted to go. But the driver, who was also at the relief concert in Port Vila, recognised the bag as that used to collect donations from concert-goers. He told other passengers to hop off the bus and told the man with the coins that he had to go and get fuel for the journey. But instead, he locked the doors and drove quickly to the police station, where he then jumped out and shouted for police to arrest the man. Police later returned the bag of money to the concert organisers.
TERRITORY cracks down on stray dogs
AMERICAN SAMOA – A task force in American Samoa that’s been working to control the territory’s stray dog population has welcomed recent government attention. The Governor, Lolo Matalasi Moliga, has called on departments on the Animal Care and Control Task Force to step up efforts to catch stray dogs after the hospital was sued by someone who was bitten by a stray dog there. Since the last cabinet meeting, the task force has started trapping dogs around the hospital and work has started to build kennels to hold dogs that are picked up from all over the territory. Veterinarian Dr Brenda Smith says the task force has already seen a difference in villages where it conducts spey and neuter clinics.
el nino brings drought to tonga
TONGA – El Nino has officially arrived in Tonga bringing cooler nights, the Ministry of Meteorology said. El Nino, the movement of warm ocean water from the north of Australia to South American crossing the Pacific islands every three to seven years, changes the weather patterns in many countries. For Tonga, El Nino usually brings cooler night time temperatures from May to October, less rainfall from November to April and more cyclones than usual. Meanwhile, drought conditions are currently being experienced throughout Tonga, and drought warnings are now in force for all of Tonga. Drier than normal conditions are also expected during the next six months. Nuku’alofa recorded 28.9mm last month which was the third lowest April rainfall in 71 years.
FIJI POLICE RUNNING OUT OF VEHICLES
SAMOA – Fiji’s Police Commissioner says his force is struggling with a lack of resources, particularly the availability of vehicles. Ben Groenewald says less than 45 per cent of the police fleet is operational and even those that are working have a high mileage. Groenewald says he hopes relief is on the horizon because statistics show that less than half of police investigations in Fiji are successful and the lack of resources is not helping to improve that. “Any shortage of resources is an obstacle in any police organisation.”
MARIANAS AND GUAM SPARED DIRECT HIT
GUAM – The US National Weather Service says the Northern Marianas and Guam were spared a direct hit from typhoon Dolphin overnight, but both territories still felt the strong winds. A meteorologist with the US National Weather Service on Guam, Michael Zilboro, says the typhoon passed north of Guam with gusts of over over 170 kilometres an hour. “So I am sure there was some damage somewhere, and there were also occasional power outages across the island.” Zilboro says wave heights peaked above 20 feet off the coast of Guam before the buoy stopped reporting.