VANUATU FACES LONG-TERM PROBLEMS FROM QUAKES

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PORT VILA, Vanuatu (January 18, 2002 – Radio Australia)---Vanuatu is facing serious long-term problems in the wake of two big earthquakes that struck two weeks ago.

Authorities say it may take two to three years for the main island of Éfaté to be rebuilt.

Johnson Naviti, acting director of the Department of Economic and Social Development, says Vanuatu may need up to AU$ 11 million (US$ 5,659,500) to replace the damaged infrastructure:

"The bridges, the roads, and the school, the French school here, Lycée Antoine de Bougainville, and also the ministry of education (are damaged).

"In Vanuatu, at this point of time, we are facing some financial difficulty, and the government will possibly have to commit itself to reprioritize in terms of the current financial resource that it has," Mr. Naviti said.

"Vanuatu will not be able to cope with the whole cost of the damage to the infrastructure, and I think we would be looking to our traditional donors to assist us, particularly Australia."

 

VANUATU SEEKS QUAKE CLEAN-UP HELP

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (January 18, 2002 – Radio Australia)---Vanuatu is seeking demolition experts to help out in the wake of two earthquakes earlier this month.

The quakes seriously damaged many buildings in the capital, Port Vila, and they need to be demolished safely before reconstruction can begin.

The acting director of the Department of Economic and Social development, Johnson Naviti says specialists from overseas would be welcome.

"A lot of these buildings are quite old, and we need specialists to come in and assist the PWD, the Public Works Department, to do a better, thorough analysis of it and to see ways in which to demolish them in, you know, a safe way.

"For example the school; we want to open up the school in February. (In the meantime), we are hoping, if possible, to relocate some of these students to the outer islands, where there are also very good institutions, "Mr. Naviti said.

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

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