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Repatriation Of Tourists Stranded In New Caledonia Continues

25.05.2024 10:12

Australia to send 2 more planes later on Saturday to help Australians stranded in New Caledonia, reports media.

Tourists stranded in the civil unrest-hit French colony of New Caledonia were repatriated on Saturday via airports other than the capital Noumea's international airport, which has been closed for more than a week.

The first batch of French tourists took off Saturday from Noumea's Magenta airfield on a military plane headed for Australia and New Zealand, from where they will fly to France on commercial flights.

Australia will send two more planes later on Saturday to help Australians stranded in New Caledonia as civil unrest in the French territory continues, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

Seven people have died since riots over proposed electoral changes broke out last week, and the situation deteriorated further on the previous Friday when a police officer shot and killed a protester.

It compelled French President Emmanuel Macron to visit the territory, where he promised to postpone changes to voting laws to calm tensions in its Pacific territory.

Australia's Foreign Minister Penny Wong confirmed the extra flights to bring Australians home on Saturday.

"We continue to help Australians outside of Noumea to travel to the capital, and we are making plans for additional flights onwards to Australia for tomorrow," she said in a post on X.

Australia's Consul-General in New Caledonia Annelise Young said 48 Australians and their families had been transported to Noumea from other islands and remote parts of the territory.

Hundreds of people, including Australian citizens, have already been flown to Australia from New Caledonia on two Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) flights and a French government flight this week.

Since the 1800s, New Caledonia has been ruled from Paris, but many Indigenous Kanaks continue to resent France's control over their islands and seek greater autonomy or independence. -

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