NEW CALEDONIA ARMY VOLUNTEERS HELP REPAIR CYCLONE-DAMAGED SCHOOL ON ESPIRITU

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SANTO ISLAND, VANUATU

NOUMÉA, New Caledonia (May 14, 2001 - Oceania Flash/SPC)---Army volunteers from New Caledonia completed repairs to cyclone-damaged Saint Anne School in Port Olry (Espiritu Santo island, Vanuatu) last month, the daily newspaper Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes reports.

The fifteen volunteers, who are currently doing community-building military service in New Caledonia's Koumac village, spent most of April on Espiritu Santo, where several cyclones have struck during the past several years, causing severe structural damage to Saint Anne School buildings.

The volunteers joined students from Vanuatu's technical college, the Port Vila-based National Institute of Technology (INTV).

Early last April, building materials and other equipment were transported to Espiritu Santo by Nouméa-based French army helicopters and the naval patrol boat Jacques Cartier.

The equipment's cost (valued at an estimated US$ 10,000) was covered by the French embassy in Port Vila under its cooperation program with Vanuatu.

The two restored school buildings were officially opened on May 3 by French Ambassador in Vanuatu, Patrick Amiot.

Also present were Port Olry's traditional High Chief, Alget Gatien, representatives of the French Army based in New Caledonia and Vanuatu Catholic Education officials.

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