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Pacific island links: Ambae evacuation, violence in Mendi, French Polynesia and more

The evacuation of Vanuatu's Ambae Island, a winner declared in South Highlands province, Cook Islands a developing nation for now and more.

Cook's Bay, French Polynesia (Photo: DeAgostini/Getty Images)
Cook's Bay, French Polynesia (Photo: DeAgostini/Getty Images)

By Euan Moyle, an intern in the Lowy Institute's Melanesia Program.

  • Vanuatu has completed the evacuation of 11,000 residents from Ambae Island as the Manaro volcano threatens to erupt. ABC’s Pacific Beat spoke with Red Cross aid workers on the massive operation and the future for the island’s residents.
  • A Sri Lankan asylum seeker died on Manus in PNG, the sixth since 2013.
  • The incumbent Governor William Powi was declared the winner in Southern Highlands province, the final seat to be declared three months after the PNG elections.
  • The delayed declaration has resulted in a new eruption of violence in Mendi, the capital of Southern Highlands province, with businesses linked to Prime Minister Peter O’Neill torched.
  • The Cook Islands’ controversial move from developing to developed nation, becoming one of only three in the Pacific to reach this status, has been delayed by the OECD until 2018 because of lack of data. The move would mean that the nation would lose US$51m in Overseas Development Assistance grants, which some suggest would make it more vulnerable during times of economic and environmental disaster.
  • French Polynesian pro-independence leaders are arguing for independence at the UN’s decolonisation committee meetings in New York. The territory was placed onto the UN decolonisation list in 2013, but anti-independence President Edouard Fritch is advocating for its removal. France has boycotted the meeting altogether.

Pacific Research Program

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