New Caledonia

73-year-old missing after Cyclone Cook

The man went missing from Kouaoua on the east coast and late yesterday a police search was still underway.

Reports say the man went to look for keys to a house during the cyclone and never returned.

Four people were slightly injured in the category three storm which is moving south away from the territory.

The president Philippe Germain said New Caledonia was left relatively unscathed by the cyclone.

He said Houailou on the east coast where Cook made landfall on the main island was among the most damaged areas.

All alerts lifted in New Caledonia following Cyclone Cook

Public services have gradually re-opened this morning in the New Caledonian capital Noumea after the territory was battered by the cyclone.

The cyclone was now a category two storm after hitting the island as a category three and is heading south.

The latest warning advising people to limit their movements during the clear up was lifted at midday local time.

President of the government Philippe Germain praised New Caledonians for taking heed of the warnings which left the territory relatively unscathed.

Injuries reported as Cyclone Cook crosses New Caledonia

The storm struck as a category 3 system when it hit yesterday but has since weakened while moving away to the south.

The alert has been lifted and people are allowed out of their homes and shelters to assess the damage. Firefighters are now out clearing debris from the island's roads.

Power has been restored to some towns in the north.

Cyclone Cook crossed the main island between Houailou and Moindou.

The storm's centre passed about 100 kilometres to the west of Noumea, sparing the territory's most densely populated areas.

New Caledonia bracing for Cyclone Cook

The cyclone caused flooding in Vanuatu's central islands yesterday and is now set to hit New Caledonia's main island.

The storm's centre is forecast to pass to the west of the Loyalty Islands, before making landfall on the east coast of the main island Grand Terre.

Cyclone Cook will be the first to directly hit New Caledonia since 2003.

A level-one alert is in force for New Caledonia's north and outer island, meaning properties and livestock should be secured.

New Caledonia dengue outbreak shows signs of stablising

They declared a dengue epidemic in January and six people have died of the disease since then.

While there were more than 2000 cumulative cases of dengue in New Caledonia, Health and Social Affairs Directorate doctor Jean-Paul Grangeon said there were signs the outbreak was under control.

New Caledonia catches more Vietnamese poachers

According to the public broadcaster, a French surveillance aircraft spotted two boats near Ouvea after which a naval vessel intercepted them to escort them to Noumea.

Reports said a Vietnamese fisherman, who was in a serious condition after a suspected diving accident, was immediately taken off and flown by helicopter to hospital.

Two other blue boats were seen near Belep and the navy succeeded in catching one of them.

A week earlier, French surveillance teams helped Solomon Islands catch three blue boats fishing illegally.

Another two people die of dengue in New Caledonia

Health authorities say a 71-year old man and an 82-year old woman died in hospital in early March after being weakened by the mosquito-borne disease.

According to the public broadcaster, since September almost 1,700 people have been infected with dengue.

A state of epidemic was declared two months ago.

The people most affected by the outbreak are those in the age brackets 15 to 19 and 25 to 29.

70 Vietnamese boats in New Caledonia waters illegally

The commander of the French navy in the territory Jean-Louis Fournier, said 55 vessels had been warned and five had been detained.

Five captains were now serving eight to 10 months in a New Caledonian jail for illegal fishing and 30 fishermen have been flown home.

The commander said those on board the "blue boats" had no identification papers and no money but were determined to dive for beche-de-mer as part of well organised fleets.

He said the boats took weeks to get from Vietnam to New Caledonia's waters where they had engaged in fights with local fishermen.

Another dengue death in New Caledonia

The mosquito-borne virus is rampant in the French territory with three deaths in the past month.

All the dead are women who had not travelled in the three weeks prior to their deaths and had succumbed within a few days of contracting the virus.

A doctor at the Health and Social Affairs Directorate, Jean-Paul Grangeon, said each day between 10 and 12 people are hospitalised and the peak of the epidemic is yet to be reached.

He says as many as 100,000 people, or nearly 40 percent of the population of New Caledonia could be affected.

WHO says dengue is spreading across the Pacific

Fiji has now confirmed 143 cases, Nauru has confirmed more than 50, and 13 have been confirmed in American Samoa.

That follows outbreaks in Solomon Islands which has had more than 10,000 dengue cases in the last seven months, and in Vanuatu which has had more than 1700 cases since November.

RNZ reports in New Caledonia three people have died and a health emergency has been declared as more than 1-thousand cases have been recorded since September.