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PORT VILA, Vanuatu (October 2, 2000 - Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat)---Vanuatu has cut almost in half the size of the delegation it planned to send to the Festival of Pacific Arts in New Caledonia later this month.

The move was made at the request of the Festival organizing committee in New Caledonia due to a shortage of housing.

The announcement comes in the wake of months of preparation for the Melanesian country’s artists and performers.

Ralph Vanu, director of Vanuatu’s Cultural Center, said the original delegation of 180 people represented all of the country’s provinces.

Despite having to cut some of the delegates, Vanu said the participants from Vanuatu will still be a diverse group.

"We have very traditional and modern groups," he said. "We tried to choose groups who haven’t gone out of the country before and who have done a wide range of activities."

Vanu said it was a difficult job having to choose who will go and who will stay back.

The delegation is holding fundraising activities to help pay for the cost of travel to the festival.

For additional reports from Radio Australia/Pacific Beat, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia/Pacific Beat.

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