Vanuatu

Vanuatu by-election to be called following the death of Havo Moli

Havo Moli was the leader of the Nagriamel movement and the sole MP for the Malo/Aore constituency.

His death means there will be a by-election less than a month since Vanuatu went to the polls for the snap election.

ABC reports the death of Moli will not affect the balance of power in the Vanuatu parliament.

Vanuatu runway repairs hoped to be done by April

Air New Zealand, Qantas, and Virgin Australia last month stopped flying to Port Vila's Bauerfield Airport citing concerns about the runway's safety.

The new prime minister, Charlot Salwai, says repairing the runway is one of his top priorities, and the public utilities ministry yesterday awarded the contract to New Zealand company Fulton Hogan.

The government is seeking a World Bank loan to carry out the work, which is estimated to cost about US$1.2 million.

Cyclone Winston upgraded to a two

Cyclone Winston is moving in a south south-easterly direction and does not pose any threats to islands in the region at this point.

Winds close to its centre are expected to increase to over 110 kilometres an hour later today.

It is forecast to intensify as it moves further south south-east between Vanuatu and Fiji at nine kilometres per hour.

The system has brought heavy rain to Fiji's main island of Viti Levu, with a flood warning in place for the Rakiraki area.

Cyclone forms between Vanuatu and Fiji

Cyclone Winston is not posing any threats to islands in the region at this point, but winds near its centre are expected to reach about 83 kilometres an hour by midnight tonight.

It is forecast to intensify tomorrow as it moves further south east between Vanuatu and Fiji.

The system has brought heavy rain to Fiji's main island of Viti Levu, with a flood warning in place for the Rakiraki area.

Farming recovers in Vanuatu

Acting Director for Agriculture, Mark Vurobaravu said this week, communities that were destroyed heavily by the natural disaster are back to their subsistence life.

Vurobaravu said people have restocked seeds and planting materials of food crops and re-built their gardens. 

They planted planting materials that were destroyed, he said, and they did that soon after the event, well before they dried up.

However he also revealed that the current El Nino has disturbed a lot of work put into the recovery initiatives.

Former Vanuatu PM laments broken-down World Bank deal on airports

Air New Zealand has announced it will stop flying to Vanuatu because of concerns over the safety of the runway, prompting Qantas to follow suit, amid expectations of a Virgin Australia announcement.

Joe Natuman, who was ousted as prime minister by Sato Kilman last year, says Mr Kilman scrapped his deal with the World Bank in favour of a Shanghai-based consortium that hasn't eventuated.

Air Niugini to review Vanuatu flight services

This is due to deteriorating conditions of that country’s runway.

General Manager, Market Dominic Kaumi told LOOP PNG the airline management will meet today to make a decision on the Airline’s weekly service to Port Vila, Vanuatu.

Last week, Qantas suspended their codeshare with Air Vanuatu effectively immediately due to concerns about the country’s international runway at the Bauerfield International Airport..

Air New Zealand has also suspended all flights to Vanuatu.

Surprising early results in Vanuatu election

Unofficial results for the smaller constituencies were the first to come in last night, and suggest there will be plenty of new faces in parliament.

Jamie Tahana reports from Port Vila.

Polls closed at 4:30pm local time yesterday, and counting began around the country soon after.

The snap election was called after the President dissolved parliament last month following the conviction of 15 MPs for corruption.

The first unofficial results that began to trickle in late last night suggest there will be a large turnover.

Rains bring respite to drought hit Vanuatu

However the operations manager of the National Disaster Management Office says despite receiving positive reports from some of the areas most affected by months of drought his office remains vigilant and will be monitoring the situation as the rains cease.

Peter Korisa says he feels that some communities will have benefited more than others from the short period of heavy rain.

Drought plagues Vanuatu people

The El Nino drought has become a regional challenge with negative effects on subsistence livelihood, says Antoine Ravo, a senior agriculture officer with the Vanuatu Department of Agriculture. 

Ravo said agricultural food production has declined in villages as people cannot tend to their gardens due to lack of rainfall in the last several months.