Foreign Affairs Minister, Nanaia Mahuta, will travel to Vanuatu today, announcing further relief and recovery assistance for the Pacific nation following the recent destruction caused by Cyclones Judy and Kevin.
While in Vanuatu, Minister Mahuta will meet with Vanuatu Acting Prime Minister, Sato Kilman; Foreign Minister, Jotham Napat and other senior figures in the Vanuatu Government.
“Vanuatu is an important regional partner and friend to Aotearoa New Zealand. This visit is an opportunity to reaffirm and strengthen the close links that already exist between our countries. I look forward to connecting with Vanuatu leaders to discuss our work together on issues facing Vanuatu and the Pacific,” Ms Mahuta said.
During her visit, Minister Mahuta will visit cyclone-affected communities to see response efforts first-hand.
“I am pleased Aotearoa New Zealand was able to support Vanuatu with humanitarian supplies and disaster management experts in the days following the cyclones.”
An additional NZ$1 million has been provided for a contestable fund to enable Aotearoa New Zealand non-government organisations and their in-country partners to continue to respond to local needs, including in the areas of food security, health and gender protection.
“This will bring the total value of Aotearoa New Zealand’s support for Vanuatu’s response and recovery efforts to approximately NZ$3 million to date, which includes NZ$300,000 to the New Zealand High Commission to rapidly respond to requests from the Government of Vanuatu,” Ms Mahuta said.
“In Vanuatu I will also discuss their bid to the International Court of Justice to rule on the Climate Crisis.”
Aotearoa New Zealand is also funding the deployment of a Pasifika Medical Association team to provide important health and psychosocial support to those affected, with a team of personnel travelling up to Vanuatu with the Minister.
“I am pleased that we are bringing up a significant number of tarpaulins, requested by the Government of Vanuatu to shelter impacted families on this Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) 757 flight, which are urgently needed,” she said.
Minister Mahuta will also call on the President of Vanuatu, meet with the Leader of the Opposition, and visit development projects funded by Aotearoa New Zealand.
“Our priority now is reinforcing Aotearoa New Zealand’s commitment to working alongside Vanuatu — as well as our wider Pacific whanau — to increase resilience, particularly in the face of climate change and the extreme weather events impacting our region,” she said.