Macron launches cyclone shelter project in French Polynesia

French president Emmanuel Macron
French president Emmanuel Macron ... demonstrations by anti-nuclear groups and the pro-independence opposition are banned for the duration of his four-day visit to Tahiti. Image: Ludovic Marin/AFP/RNZ

RNZ Pacific

France and French Polynesia have agreed to jointly spend US$60 million to build 17 cyclone shelters across the Tuamotu archipelago.

This was announced on Manihi atoll, where the visiting French President Emmanuel Macron inaugurated the construction site for a shelter for the atoll’s 600 inhabitants.

The shelters are scheduled to be built by 2027 to extend protection for a further 8000 residents. So far 27 shelters have been erected.

Macron stopped on Manihi on his way back to Tahiti after a visit to Hiva Oa.

The French Polynesian President, Edouard Fritch, who is travelling with Macron, told local media that he asked Paris for another loan to cope with problems at the social welfare agency CPS and Air Tahiti Nui.

Wallis delegation to meet Macron in Tahiti
A delegation from Wallis and Futuna is expected to fly to French Polynesia today to meet President Macron.

According to the French Prefect in Wallis, Macron originally had Wallis and Futuna on his itinerary, but called off a visit because of the restrictions linked to the covid-19 pandemic.

Prefect Herve Jonathan told local television Macron had wanted to mark this week’s 60th anniversary of the territory’s current status as a French overseas collectivity.

He said the 14-member delegation would include representatives of the three traditional kingdoms as well as the Catholic archbishop.

In March, Wallis and Futuna had a covid-19 community outbreak, which prompted a strict lockdown.

An immediate immunisation drive inoculated about half the population within two weeks but almost half the population rejected the vaccination offer.

Four hundred people caught the virus and seven died.

Detention for Tahiti man insulting Macron
A man in French Polynesia has been taken into custody for questioning for insulting President Macron shortly after he had arrived at Tahiti’s airport.

Tahiti-infos reports the individual joined demonstrators lined up along the route of the presidential convoy to Tahiti’s hospital.

Demonstrations by anti-nuclear groups and the pro-independence opposition are banned for the duration of the president’s four-day visit.

Reports say the groups distanced themselves from the individual, saying he was not one of their members.

He is due in court and expected to be tried for insulting a person in public authority.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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