At Least Five Dead In New Cale­do­nia ‘Catas­tro­phe’

Fiji Sun - - World News -

Three peo­ple were miss­ing, but there was lit­tle hope of find­ing them alive. Six peo­ple were in­jured. As many as 500 peo­ple had been af­fected, said Jac­que­line John­ston, the chair­per­son of the French Red Cross in New Cale­do­nia.

“Land­slides like that have never happened be­fore,” she said. “There were five houses and the five houses were un­der the land­slide.

“So we have five peo­ple dead, un­for­tu­nately,” said Ms John­ston. The worst-af­fected area was on tribal cus­tom­ary land where build­ing per­mits are not re­quired. The area had been iden­ti­fied as prone to slips in 2008 and 2011, and some had started to ques­tion what led the slopes to be­come so un­sta­ble. As a large-scale re­sponse swung into ac­tion on Wed­nes­day, New Cale­do­nia’s Pres­i­dent, Philippe Germain, toured the af­fected area and promised that ex­tra­or­di­nary as­sis­tance would be made avail­able. The French Pres­i­dent, François Hol­lande, and the Prime Min­is­ter, Manuel Valls, is­sued state­ments ex­press­ing con­do­lences. RNZI

Houailou area in New Cale­do­nia worst hit by del­uge.

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