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Indonesia helps Vanuatu fix cyclone-hit airport

Jakarta Globe - October 23, 2023

Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – Indonesia sent 20 tons of building materials over the weekend to help Vanuatu fix its cyclone-hit Port Vila International Airport.

The Judy and Kevin cyclones swept through Vanuatu in early March. Following the disaster, Indonesia announced it would provide humanitarian assistance to get the Port Vila Airport's VIP room fixed. The repair works already began during Deputy Foreign Minister Pahala Mansury's visit to Vanuatu in August.

"How this project involves Indonesian contractors and workers also shows the strong partnership between the two countries," a press statement issued by the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry on Sunday reads.

The rehabilitation project is scheduled to be completed by the end of this month or early November, according to the ministry.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) in August reported that Indonesia would provide $913,000 in grants for airport rehabilitation. The project also involves 30 Indonesian experts and engineers.

Indonesia and Vanuatu have had arguments at the United Nations (UN) forums in the past. For instance, at the 75th UN General Assembly (UNGA) session in 2020, then-Vanuatuan Prime Minister Bob Loughman alleged that indigenous West Papuans suffered from human rights abuses. Indonesia then accused Vanuatu of not respecting the UN Charter and its principle of non-interference in other countries' internal affairs.

However, their quite thorny ties appear to have improved. The Indonesian government said that September's UNGA meeting did not see any countries bringing up the Papua issue. Vanuatu earlier this year also revealed its plans to open an embassy in Indonesia.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/indonesia-helps-vanuatu-fix-cyclonehit-airpor