June 19th, 2024

Australia and New Zealand sending planes to evacuate nationals from New Caledonia’s unrest

By The Associated Press on May 20, 2024.

The French territory of New Caledonia has been rocked by deadly unrest, leading to a state of emergency imposed by Paris. (AP Graphic)

SYDNEY (AP) – The Australian and New Zealand governments announced Tuesday they were sending planes to evacuate their nationals from violence-scorched New Caledonia.

Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong confirmed Australia had received clearance for two flights to evacuate citizens and other tourists from New Caledonia amid violent unrest that has beset the French Pacific archipelago where indigenous people have long sought independence from France.

“We continue to work on further flights,” Wong wrote on the social media platform X on Tuesday.

New Zealand also announced it was sending a plane Tuesday to evacuate its nationals from Noumea, the Pacific island’s capital, in the first in a series of proposed flights to bring its citizens home.

“New Zealanders in New Caledonia have faced a challenging few days – and bringing them home has been an urgent priority for the Government,” Peters said.

At least six people have died and hundreds more have been injured in New Caledonia after violence erupted last week following controversial electoral reforms passed in Paris.

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