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Samoa hard hit by climate change super cyclone - worst floods ever seen.

A mass clean up begins today in Samoa as the country gets back on its feet after extensive flooding just before Christmas. 

The severe flooding on Friday forced families to be moved into evacuation shelters as the country begins to count the cost of one of the worst floods in recent memory.  A gym in Tuanaimato set up by MNRE was also set up as an evacuation shelter. 

“This was the worst flooding we have ever seen in the history of Samoa” local resident Cecelia Keil says. “And so close to Christmas too. A lot of people have lost everything and nowhere to stay.  There's a family of 10 now living next door to us flooded out of their home at Faatoia. It’s the worst thing to happen to people already suffering from no income this year”

This morning a massive clean continues to be underway with off duty police and low risk prisoners working hard to clear damage.…more


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FIJI: Tropical Cyclone Yasa aftermath

“My fellow Fijians .. the storm is passing, the sun has risen and we are still here…” Fijian PM Frank Bainimarama 

Three fatalities have been confirmed in Fiji as a result of yesterday’s Cyclone - a 45yr old man near Labasa, a 67yr old man near Yadua and a three-month-old baby from Narua Settlement. Fatalities are sadly expected to rise. 

Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama says Fiji will recover, rebuild and once again prevail following the ‘assault’ caused by Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Yasa that tore through the island nation in the past 48 hours.

“Due to climate change these storms may be getting stronger but they will never be stronger than we are..”, encouraged Banimarama who was seen visiting rural communities in most affected areas of the storm immediately after it had passed.

Super-cyclone Yasa’s assault on Fiji began in the Yasawas yesterday afternoon. The storm made landfall as a category five system last night in the Bua Province of Vanua Levu with wind speeds up to 345 kilometres per hour.…more


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Government secures another two Covid-19 vaccines

The government’s secured two new Covid-19 vaccines, meaning there will be enough for every New Zealander to get the jab.

Border workers are expected to be immunised in the second quarter of next year, with the general population in the second half.

Getting one of the vaccines will be free for everybody, health minister Andrew Little confirmed. “Currently, given we have no community transmission, the first group who would be immunised are those most at risk of being exposed to Covid-19. This includes the border and MIQ workforce, the Covid-19 frontline healthcare workers, and their household contacts. This will further strengthen our border.”

The Ministry of Health has also purchased nine large minus-80 degree Celsius freezers that can store more than 1.5 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. They are on track to arrive by the end of the year.

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced that the government is preparing to support its Pacific partners to access Covid-19 vaccines.

Mahuta confirmed $75 million of Official Development Assistance had been earmarked to support Pacific and global vaccine access and roll-out.…more


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DWAYNE THE ROCK JOHNSON, HIS WIFE & 2 CHILDREN RECOVERING FROM COVID-19

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson shared in an instagram post earlier today that himself, his wife Lauren Hashian along with their 2 young daughters Jasmine (4yrs) and Tiana (2yrs) are recovering from Covid19 after testing postive about three weeks ago.

He revealed they caught it off close family friends who had visited with them not realising they were positive at the time.  

Dwayne said his two young daughters, exhibited mild symptoms, but he and his wife, Lauren Hashian, were a different story.

"I can tell you that this has been one of the most challenging and difficult things we have ever had to endure as a family," he said. "And for me personally, too, as well, and I've gone through some doozies in the past."

"But I am happy to tell you guys that we as a family are good. We are on the other end of it. We are on the other side. We are no longer contagious. And we are -- thank god -- we are healthy," he said.…more


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IMPORTANT UPDATE FOR OUR PACIFIC COMMUNITY

An important addendum to todays Covid announcement is that none of the confirmed Pacific cases are so far linked to the Emmanuel Cook Islands Church that the Rydges maintenance worker attended.

Prime Minister Jacinda Adern reinforces the importance of keeping up the high levels of Pacific testing if anyone has symptoms of Covid and reminds the public of how high Pasifika testing numbers are at 23% - higher then the percentage of the Pacific population in Aotearoa.

She has also given assurance that there will be a Pacific member included in the Ministry Of Health team in dealing with assessments and recommendations for our vulnerable communities.

Another important point made for Pasifika communities is that testing for overstayers is done by Ministry Of Health and this testing process isn't connected to other government enforcement agencies. Dr Bloomfield encrouages all people regardless of immigrations status to come forward and says the Government is keen to establish a position of community trust on this.


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Fresh Off The Vote 2020 - Bianca Seinafo

Bianca Seinafo is an actor, presenter and teacher.

She's a proud Samoan Kiwi from Christchurch and she tells us why she thinks it's important to enrol and vote in this year's election. Enrol at vote.nz

.

#FreshOffTheVote

#Election2020

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NEW NAVIGATION CHARTS BRING ECONOMIC AND MARITIME SAFETY BENEFITS TO TONGA

Navy disaster relief vessels and other large ships will no longer rely on old fashioned plumb lines and charts measuring in fathoms to enter some of Tonga’s waters, as they have done since the 1800s.

A partnership between Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Pacific governments is coming to fruition with the publication of new electronic navigational charts for the Kingdom of Tonga.

The new charts, created using hydrographic surveys of the undersea world around Tonga, will be vital if large ships are to navigate the reefs and hidden rocks safely. They also ensure compliance with international maritime regulations.

Ms Kelela Tonga, Director of the Marine and Ports Division at Tonga’s Ministry of Infrastructure, says the charts are of great importance for the safety of navigation of all vessels.

“The production of these charts is a milestone for the future of safe shipping within Tongan waters,” she said.…more


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Funerals could take similar approach to tangihanga under new rules

By Jordan Bond for Radio New Zealand

Government ministers have backed down over tangi and funeral rules, which initially restricted attendees to a maximum of 10 people at a time.

It is now set at 50 people, but the funeral director must submit a plan and have it accepted showing they can mitigate health risks of spreading Covid-19.

"It's definitely what the public have been asking for, so they'll be happy. We're happy, and we'll accommodate whatever needs to be accommodated by the Ministry of Health," said Funeral Directors Association spokesperson Simon Manning.

The association asked Minister of Health David Clark for the limit to be 100 people, arguing they would be more than capable of handling that number, Manning said.

Gee and Hickton Funeral Directors general manager Gavin Murphy agreed that 50 people was too few, but should be better than a limit of 10, which put some families in an unfathomable situation.…more


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Prime Minister of Samoa's response to the New Zealand Law Society

GOVT. PRESS SECRETARIAT;

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has responded to New Zealand Law Society President Tiana Epati’s “serious concerns” with the constitutional law reforms under review in Samoa.

The Prime Minister’s reply is published verbatim.

“There is no place for the President of an overseas Law Society to use that organization’s name to try to lecture us or interfere with our country’s democratic processes.

Samoa’s Government is trying to create a Specialist Court of Appeal for its own cultural Lands and Titles to be legally acknowledged and preserved.

It is a matter now at Select Committee for public consultation, and it is a matter for Samoa. In short, it is none of your overseas presidential business.

All the best as you concentrate on the needs of all your society’s members, and we will concentrate on looking after our own country-Samoa.…more


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SAMOA CORONAVIRUS UPDATE - COVID19 FREE!

Ministry of Health Samoa Update: - 

As of 9:00am 11th April, 2020, there are NO CONFIRMED CASES of COVID-19 in Samoa. We continue to provide care for all patients who need it, and are prepared to provide care for those who may become infected with COVID-19.

At the time of this update, we can report the following:

1)    The 12 outstanding specimens were sent to New Zealand Tuesday evening on an emergency medevac flight

2)    The results of these 12 tests were all NEGATIVE for COVID-19.

3)    To date, all of the 32 samples sent overseas (New Zealand) for testing came back negative

4)    For the past 5 days, no new samples were collected for COVID-19 testing.

MOH will continue to investigate people reporting fever and flu-like symptoms with a history of travel in the past 14 days overseas, and update the public on the status of their COVID-19 testing.

Active surveillance for early detection of COVID-19 cases in Samoa is ongoing.…more