Stranded Australians remain in limbo as flights leave New Caledonia

More than 100 Australians and tourists from other countries were traveling on the two flights that left the capital Noumea, after Deadly riots broke out last week..
foreign minister Penny Wong has confirmed that French authorities will begin flights today to ensure other stranded tourists can safely leave the French Pacific territory.
Australians and other tourists have landed in Brisbane. (Penny Wong)

Melbourne woman Malisa Plesa failed to get a spot on flights, she said Today It was disappointing.

“We did not receive any notification that we would not be on their flight. We received communication that the French authorities would coordinate the evacuation of all tourists remaining in New Caledonia,” he said.

“We don’t know when we can return home.

“There are thousands of tourists from all over the world and if we are now included as part of that group stranded here, it could take us years to get home.”

Plesa said he had received little communication from Australian officials.

“We are still trapped here and in as much danger today as we were yesterday,” he said.

“We just want to know when we will have the opportunity to return home.

“We’ve been told to stay in our hotels, because we could get that call at any time.

“It’s just another day in limbo. It’s another day where people can’t go out and get more supplies; it’s really just a waiting game for us.”

Malisa Plesa, a woman from Melbourne, is trapped in New Caledonia. (Nine)

The federal government said it would continue to work with partners on more flights, prioritizing passengers based on need.

Wong said French authorities had advised they would be carrying out flights from today and the Department of Foreign Affairs remained in contact with Australians registered in New Caledonia.

Tourists from other countries also got a place on the first flights after talks with the Australian and Canadian consulates in Noumea.

National Senator Matt Canavan said Australians should have been the first to get on the flights.

“I have no doubt that Australian assets should be used to prioritize Australians,” he said. Today.

There were emotional scenes at Brisbane airport. (Nine)
Riots broke out last week in response to reforms passed in Paris that allow newcomers to the French overseas territory to vote in local provincial elections, a move that some local leaders fear will weaken the voice of the indigenous Kanak people.

The indigenous population makes up about 40 percent of New Caledonia’s total population of 270,000, and many have called for independence from France.

Three referendums have been held on the issue since 2018, with the independence vote falling short on each occasion, although it boycotted the most recent vote in 2021.

A state of emergency was declared last week in response to the unrest, and France sent an additional 1,000 security reinforcements to the territory to quell the violence.

Australians in New Caledonia who want to leave and have not registered with DFAT must online registration.

Australians requiring emergency consular assistance should contact the Consular Emergency Center on 1300 555 135 (within Australia) or +61 2 6261 3305 (from overseas).

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