Australians stranded in New Caledonia 'running out of food' amid civil unrest

  18 May 2024    Read: 1171
Australians stranded in New Caledonia

Australians stranded in New Caledonia are rationing food as they wait for a way out of the Pacific island territory, amid unrest that has killed six people, a traveller from Sydney said on Saturday.

They are among 3,200 people who are stuck waiting to leave or enter the French-ruled territory as commercial flights have been cancelled due to the unrest that broke out this week, the local government said.

"The kids are definitely hungry because we don't really have much option of what we can feed them," Joanne Elias told Reuters by phone from a resort in the capital Noumea, where her family has been holed up.

The riots have been sparked by anger among indigenous Kanak people over a constitutional amendment approved by lawmakers in Paris that would allow French people who have lived in New Caledonia for at least 10 years to vote in provincial elections, which some local leaders fear will dilute the Kanak vote.

Five nights of upheaval have resulted in burnt businesses, torched cars, looted shops, and road barricades, cutting off access to medicine and food.

Three indigenous Kanak and two police officers were among those killed. A sixth person was killed and two seriously injured on Saturday during a gun battle between two groups at a roadblock in Kaala-Gomen, French police said, without identifying the groups.

 

Reuters


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