Breaking News

New Caledonia

Australia and New Zealand Initiate Evacuation Flights Amid Unrest in New Caledonia

New Caledonia, May 21, 2024, The Europe Today: The governments of Australia and New Zealand announced on Tuesday that they are dispatching planes to New Caledonia to evacuate their nationals amid violent unrest in the French Pacific territory.

The turmoil has left hundreds of tourists trapped in hotels for weeks, according to reports.

Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong confirmed that the French authorities have granted clearance for two flights to evacuate Australian citizens and tourists from New Caledonia. “We continue to work on further flights,” Wong posted on X on Tuesday. Official reports indicate that there are about 300 Australians in New Caledonia.

New Zealand is also taking action, with Foreign Minister Winston Peters announcing that a plane is being sent to the capital, Noumea, to initially bring home “50 passengers with the most pressing needs.” More flights are planned to follow. “New Zealanders in New Caledonia have faced a challenging few days — and bringing them home has been an urgent priority for the government,” Peters said.

France’s High Commission in New Caledonia stated on Tuesday that the airport remains closed for commercial flights, leaving about 3,200 people stranded amid the ongoing unrest.