Tongan students in Vila “good” says Minister as USP campus reopens

PHOTO: Tongan students in Vanuatu USP campus pose inside a school building after Cyclone Pam. Photo/Joyce Sikalu (Facebook)

The eight Tongan students stranded in Vanuatu after Cyclone Pam are in good condition and the University of the South Pacific’s Port Vila campus was set to re-open today (March 23).

Last week Tongan student Tupou Fa’aoa made an emotional plea for the government on Television Tonga for help, implying they wanted the government to help them return to the kingdom.

However, Tonga’s Minister of Finance Hon. ‘Aisake Valu Eke reassured Parliament on Thursday that the students were well.

Hon. Eke said the government had contacted Kisione Finau the Tongan Director of Information Technology  Services at USP’s main campus in Fiji, who has responsibility for Tongan students at USP.

Finau  confirmed the Law School in Vanuatu would begin classes today (March 23).  Finau said he had checked on the students and that their situation was good.

He said the university had looked after the students to make sure they had food, water and housing.

The university’s electricity supply in Vila had been fixed as part of the preparation to start school.

The Finance Minister said the government had been contacted by the parents of Tongan students in Vanuatu, who confirmed  the students were in good condition.

State of emergency

Vanuatu’s President Baldwin Lonsdale declared a State of Emergency across all six provinces of the Melanesian country after Cyclone Pam struck last week.

Shelter, food, health and water, sanitation and health remain key needs according, to them latest UN Relief Web service report.

Half of Vanuatu’s population, spread over 22 islands and about 166,000 people are estimated to be in need of food assistance for the next three months.

About 57,000 affected school-age children are receiving relief assistance.

There were 16 confirmed deaths and 65,000 people need temporary shelter

The main points

  • The eight Tongan students stranded in Vanuatu after Cyclone Pam are in good condition and the University of the South Pacific’s Port Vila campus was set to re-open today (March 23).
  • Tongan student Tupou Fa’aoa made an emotional plea for the government on Television Tonga for help, implying they wanted the government to help them return to the kingdom.
  • Tonga’s Minister of Finance Hon. ‘Aisake Valu Eke said the government had contacted Kisione Finau the Tongan Director of Information Technology  Services at USP’s main campus in Fiji, who has responsibility for Tongan students at USP.
  • Finau confirmed the Law School in Vanuatu would begin classes today (March 23).  Finau said he had checked on the students and that their situation was good.

For more information

State of emergency declared, ‘monster’ cyclone Pam aid effort kicks in (SBS/Pacific Media Watch)

USP Emalus Campus is set to open tomorrow! (USP)

Statement by the Humanitarian Coordinator for Vanuatu, Osnat Lubrani (UN)

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