Tropical Cyclone Lola heads for Vanuatu

Hard on the heels of the prediction that this upcoming cyclone season will see between nine and fourteen cyclones in the region, comes the arrival of Severe Tropical Cyclone Lola. As of Tuesday morning, TC Lola is at Category Five and is expected to bring destructive winds to the north of Vanuatu as she heads southwest.

The islands of Santo, Ambae, and Malekula are expected to be significantly affected. This comes as Vanuatu is continuing to recover from the impacts of twin storms Judy and Kevin, which hit the country within a matter of days earlier this year.

The relentless pummelling of Vanuatu by tropical cyclones underlines the importance of measures such as the Loss and Damage mechanism that was agreed to at last year’s Conference of the Parties (COP) meeting. However, making that a reality is proving difficult with the collapse of the most recent round of talks.

Rabuka completes his visit to Australia

Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka of Fiji has concluded a State visit to Australia. During the trip he met with the Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, other ministers, business leaders, and members of Fijian diaspora communities.

The visit highlighted once again Rabuka’s avowed wish to see the relationship between the two countries become warmer and deeper. The “vuvale” partnership between Fiji and Australia was ‘renewed and elevated’.

Rabuka visited Gallipoli barracks in Brisbane where he saw the capabilities of the Bushmaster protected mobility vehicles, further to an announcement that Australia will sell fourteen of these to Fiji for use during peacekeeping missions.

Rabuka caused much eyebrow raising across the region with his remarks that fall a long way short of other calls from the Pacific for Australia to speed up its transition away from economic reliance on fossil fuels.

Other Pacific News:

The Pacific Islands Forum has announced that the Pacific Humanitarian Pathway on COVID-19 (PHP-C) has been officially closed. It operated for three and a half years to facilitate the movement of critical supplies and personnel across the region during the pandemic.

Authorities in Papua New Guinea have confirmed that most of the last remaining refugees and asylum seekers in Port Moresby will be resettled elsewhere. This comes after the money provided by the government of Australia ran out leaving the men deprived of vital services.

Dr Saia Ma’u Piuluka from Tonga has been nominated to be the next World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for the Western Pacific. Dr Piuluka is currently his country’s Minister of Health and will be the first Pacific person to hold this position.

After many months of negotiations and some setbacks, the Marshall Islands and the USA have signed three agreements to facilitate continued support via the Compact of Free Association. The agreements need to be ratified by the Nitjela and Congress to come into force.

The failure of the referendum on the Voice to Parliament in Australia has been met with disappointment by Pacific leaders and communities. In the Pacific, the idea that Indigenous people should contribute to policymaking is seen as something of a no-brainer.


Tess Newton Cain is a Senior Research Fellow at the Griffith Asia Institute and project lead for the Griffith Pacific Hub.