Vanuatu daily news digest | 6 February 2013Posted: February 6, 2013
Vanuatu Meteorological Services have just released a tsunami advisory following a 8.0 earthquake in the Santa Cruz Islands north of Vanuatu. The advisory reads:
Tsunami Advisory Number 2 for Vanuatu issued by the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department at 1:30 pm Wednesday, February 06, 2013
At 12:12 pm local time today 06th February 2013, an earthquake of magnitude 8.0 was located at 10.9 degrees south, 165.1 Degrees East. This is about 575 kilometers north northwest of Luganville, Santo.
An earthquake of this size has the potential to cause destructive Tsunami that can strike coastlines near the epicenter within minutes and more distant coastlines within hours. The National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) advises people throughout Vanuatu to take appropriate action and precautionary measures upon receiving this advisory. This includes immediate evacuation from coastal areas and to higher grounds.
People throughout northern and central Vanuatu who have moved to high grounds are asked to remain. Those who have not, are asked to do so.
People are advised to continue to listen to all radio outlets. The next advisory will be updated today at 2.30 pm today.
The Prime Minister’s Office wants the Police to investigate whether Hilaire Bule has defamed PM Kilman in last weekend’s Independent newspaper, where he alleged that Pascal Anh Quan Saken contributed USD200,000 to PM Kilman’s 2012 election campaign. Bule says he will offer proof of the transaction this coming weekend in the Independent, VBTC News reported yesterday. As we have reported previously, a police investigation into Anh Quan Saken and the arrival of the Phocea was opened six months ago by the Police Trans-National Crime Unit, but promptly halted by the Government for unspecified reasons. The officer in charge of the investigation, Andrew Kalman, was suspended, and remains so to this day. Patunvanu, however, gets a full page of today’s Daily Post to rant in. It seems he views the media revelations about Phocea as a “conspiracy against Vanuatu” and calls for an Ombudsman report. What a good idea. An Ombudsman report on Saken’s illegal activities with the Phocea and Government Ministers might finally reveal why members of the Government of this nation are getting into bed with an alleged drug and arms smuggler.
Speaking of libellious statements, Vanuatu blogger Phil Manhire strenuously denies all assertions by Jeff Joel Patunvanu that he is associated with Pascal Anh Quan Saken. As well as blogging, Manhire sits on the board of Vanuatu Youth Against Corruption.
Some good news for a change… The World Health Organisation (WHO) is beginning a nation-wide fight against yaws on Tanna in April. Yaws is a preventable tropical disease that affects the skin, bone and cartilage and is caused by a bacterial infection. More info on the disease here. WHO is starting with a media campaign, Daily Post reports. The WHO says the disease can be eradicated by treating people with the disease and all others who have been in contact with them with an antibiotic.
Former officer of the Land Department, now private businessman, Levi Tarosa, questions the effectiveness of the 1.6 billion vatu allocation for the Mama Graon project. He says fair and equitable land dealings as required by resolutions of the National Land Summit of 2006 are not yet a reality and he blames the Mama Graon initiative for this. For his part, answering Tarosa, on Radio Vanuatu News, Mama Graon’s Deputy Director Russell Nari says the timeframe for the Australia and New Zealand-funded program is for 5 years and has only run been running for one full year so far. Furthermore, he says, success depends greatly on the work of the local partners. Nari says the Malvatumauri and the Customary Lands Tribunal have assisted the programme beyond expectations already. Less active are the Department of Lands (too busy selling controversial leases for the Minister, and helping themselves to cheap land leases, the public will most likely assume). The Cultural Centre is also a partner, Nari says, but has not fully joined yet. AusAID has a website for the Mama Graon initiative with more details.