Pacific news in brief for September 17

Kiribati drought set to continue; search in Tonga for missing fishermen called off; and Nauruans go to the polls next Saturday.

Kiribati drought set to continue

The Kiribati drought crisis is set to continue well into the new year, as its government looks for support.

Sally Rimon, the Acting National Disaster Management officer, said current meteorology data from the region, and from weather service providers outside of the region, pointed to an extended drought period to at least April 2023.

She said technical assessments point to critically low water levels.

However, support in improving desalination equipment and salinity monitoring had poured in from partners including the United Nations, the US, China, Brazil, Japan and the Pacific Islands Forum.

Kiribati is still at alert level three with the country having declared a state of national emergency in June.

UNICEF had earlier this week rung alarm bells around possible malnutrition and illnesses.

Rimon said Kiribati also had lessons to share from its experience about strengthening disaster preparedness.

Search in Tonga for missing fishermen called off

Tonga Police have called off a search for three people who went missing at sea after their boat sank on August 30.

The two men and a 15-year-old boy were part of a group of six whose boat sank between near the main island of Tongatapu.

Two of the six men were rescued while one death has been confirmed while three are missing.

The boat had been bound for the nearby island of ‘Eua.

Nauruans go to the polls next Saturday

In one week from today the people of Nauru go to the polls to elect 19 MPs across eight constituencies.

There are 77 candidates contesting the seats – 18 of those are lining up in the largest constituency, Ubenide, which will elect four MPs.

Meneng, in which the current President, Lionel Aingimea is one of the MPs, selects three members.

The rest choose two MPs.

Photo: 123RF

The least number of candidates is the six contesting the Boe and Anetan constituencies.

Former president, Baron Waqa, who lost his seat in 2019, is keen to re-enter the fray in the Boe constituency.

Samoa police reject sabotage claim

The Samoa Police Commissioner has rejected claims the police prosecutor sabotaged a criminal libel case.

The case in question was a criminal libel case against an ordained church minister based in Sydney, who hosts a radio program there.

The ruling FAST Party lodged a complaint against Tiumalumatua Maifea Fetu, who was subsequently arrested and charged with criminal libel when he arrived in Apia for a church conference last month.

The Samoa Observer reported the sabotage claim was made by the party chairman, Laauli Leuatea Schmidt.

Samoa police commissioner Auapaau Logoitino Filipo said the case file will be looked at to see if the police overlooked anything in their investigation.

But he maintained the police prepared properly for the case.

FAST has lodged a second complaint against another individual who resides overseas, and is accused of making defamatory comments directed at the party members.

Police are investigating.

Chinese police help out in Solomons

Chinese police officers have been teaching skills to their Solomons Islands colleagues, along with martial arts to women and children, and also providing help with food.

The China Police Liaison Team was at Tulagi in Central Province to provide public order management training.

While there, they encountered officers’ families experiencing some difficulty, and the Solomon Islands police media team said the Chinese officers stepped in and bought the families rice, oil and noodles.

Local police commander, David Soaki, thanked the Chinese officers for their strong support.

Australia steps in to save MSG Cup

Australia stepped in to contribute $ US394,000 dollars for the Melanesian Prime Ministers Cup after, Vanuatu, the host country failed meet its commitment of 60 percent of the total budget.

RNZ Pacific’s correspondent reports Prime Minister, Bob Loughman, promised to donate $ US771,000 for the event.

But the MSG secretariat in Port Vila has said, so far, Vanuatu has not met its commitment.

The promise was made before the dissolution of parliament last month ahead of a snap election, and now with a care taker administration in place, there is no ability to make any financial commitment.

The MSG secretariat said to complete the event they are reliant on donations.

The Australian High Commisssioner, Heidi Bootle, said “sport has the power to bring communities together, and supports us to lead healthy lives. Australia is very pleased to be an Official Partner of this event and it has been an honor for us to work with Vanuatu, MSG and the organizing committee. “

Loughman thanked Australia and said despite the issues in the Melanesian countries, they have one thing in common and that is the unity of the people.

He said “togetherness, cultural values ​​brings us together, this is one the element that combine us together in our community.

Tonga names rugby league squad for World Cup

Tonga has named a 38-man roster in preparations for the Rugby League World Cup next month in the United Kingdom.

The star studded roster includes powerful debutants such as Rabbitohs standout Daniel Fifita, Gold Coast backrower David Fifita, Eels prop Oregon Kaufusi and Sharks second row Sisosifa Talakai.

Veteran stars Jason Taumalolo, Daniel Tupou, William Hopoate and Konrad Hurrell return to the mix.

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