First Polynesians to return from New Caledonia: 'We are relieved'

First Polynesians to return from New Caledonia: 'We are relieved'

Stuck in Noumea for two weeks For some, 80 Polynesians will be able to find the fenua. The first repatriation flight departs on Monday from New Caledonia and arrives in Tahiti on Sunday evening local time. A second flight is scheduled for next week.

Who is in the group? I'm trying to get you all on the same plane“dictates a soldier in a deep voice, at the gates of Magenta Airport. The Polynesians who were summoned on Monday, May 27 (Caledonian time) finally see the end of the tunnel. The events taking place in Greater Noumea have left their mark.

We are relieved to be able to return home. We have been waiting for a return trip to Vinoa for two weeks and now it is starting to pay off. But we are also sad that we can go home and know that the situation here is still tense. We met people with big hearts who helped us a lot.

The ordeal is over for the first 80 Polynesians evacuated from New Caledonia. The French army takes them in groups of about twenty passengers to La Tontouta International Airport. A secure air bridge to allow them to board the A400M aircraft that will take them back to Faaa International Airport. Landing in Tahiti is scheduled for Sunday evening at 10:55 p.m. local time.

The first returning Polynesians departed Magenta Airport in New Caledonia to go to La Tontota and then boarded a new military plane bound for Tahiti.


These passengers board the plane feeling relieved. “We barely had anything to eat, and we had to sneak out to find a shop, which was the worst of it. We couldn't get out. People from the neighborhood closed down our little village” Describes Vanaka, who every year used to visit his daughter who lives in Kailua. In 25 years, he had never faced such a situation before.

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Since places are limited on the A400M, many other Polynesians will have to wait for the second repatriation flight, announced by state and national services. Timmy knew he wouldn't be able to get on that plane, but he went to the airport anyway. A vacation with his partner turned into a nightmare. “I tried to see if they could put us on the plane…we're stuck here. We deal with it“, Timmy quits.

The High Commission of the Republic of Polynesia has identified a total of 160 citizens stranded in New Caledonia, Anna Nguyen, head of the administrative divisions of the Windward Islands and Sous-Lou Islands, said on Saturday, May 25. winds.

As for the Caledonians stuck in Papeete, helplessly witnessing events affecting their country, they are counting on these repatriation flights to bring them home. The Polynesian High Commission confirmed:Work in this direction.

The state of emergency, declared on May 15, has been lifted in New Caledonia but Tontota International Airport remains closed. Its reopening has been postponed again, this time to June 2.

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