NEW CALEDONIA – Hundreds of households in New Caledonia are still without power, a week after Cyclone Cook crossed the main island. The category three system, which claimed one life, damaged the electricity grid in the middle of Grand Terre when it crossed the mountainous main island with winds of up to 180 kilometres. Teams have been out over Easter to reconnect homes in the Boulouparis and La Foa areas on the west coast and around Poindimie and Thio on the eastern side of the island. A former president and now parliamentarian in France, Philippe Gomes, called on the French High Commission to declare a state of natural disaster in the worst hit areas. Cyclone Cook caused extensive damage to crops prompting the government to call a meeting for today to finalise plans to assist farmers who face months without income.
CYCLONE ESCAPEES GET EXTRA TIME
NEW CALEDONIA – Eight prisoners who tried to escape from prison in New Caledonia during Cyclone Cook this week have had their sentences lengthened. The cyclone swept over the territory as a category three storm on Monday, killing one person and causing extensive damage to crops. The territory’s public broadcaster reports that in the chaos of the storm, eight prisoners tried to escape from East Camp prison in the middle of the night, but were caught by guards. At the Noumea Correctional Court on Friday, the eight men had their sentences extended by between one and two years.
Nauru to resume Guam flightS
NAURU – Nauru Airlines has secured a permit allowing it to revive its Guam route. The Marianas Variety reports Nauru’s flag carrier, which is projected to bring air traffic of 5000 passengers a year between Guam and transit points, received its permit from the US Department of Transportation last week. The permit allows Nauru Airlines to transport people, property and mail between Nauru and Guam via Tarawa, Majuro and Pohnpei for a period of five years. The transportation department has also granted Nauru Air charter rights between any points in Nauru and the United States. Nauru Airlines said it planned to offer a once-a-week round trip between Nauru and Guam using B737-300 aircraft. No date has been given for the resumption of the service which had ended more than a decade ago.
TAHITI WIN WORLD BEACH SOCCER EVENT
FRENCH POLYNESIA– Tahiti have won the beach soccer Pilsener Cup. In the final, the Tiki Toa beat hosts El Salvador 10-5 in the run-up to the World Cup which begins next week. Earlier in the tournament, the French Polynesian side beat Ecuador 9-1 and then Panama 7-3. On Friday next week, the Tiki Toa will play Brazil in the first game of the knockout stage of the Beach Soccer World Cup in the Bahamas. They will also face Japan and Poland. In November, the Tiki Toa were beaten by Brazil 10-4 the Beach Soccer Intercontinental Cup in Dubai. Tahiti were runners-up at the last World Cup in 2015, losing the final to hosts Portugal.