Another 100 Aussies to be evacuated from New Caledonia

Australian travellers have made it home safe from New Caledonia where riots have claimed six lives.

Australian travellers have made it home safe from New Caledonia where riots have claimed six lives. Photo: AAP

About 100 more Australians stranded in New Caledonia following deadly riots are set to be repatriated, meaning more than half the people who want to leave the French territory will have gotten home.

A French plane will arrive in Brisbane on Wednesday after 84 Australians and 24 other nationals were repatriated to the Queensland capital on Tuesday.

There are about 500 Australians in New Caledonia and some 300 in total had registered their interest in coming home with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Pacific Minister Pat Conroy said.

“That number may move slightly but we think approximately 100 Australians will be on that flight,” he told ABC TV on Wednesday.

Australia would continue to work with the French government on further flights, Conroy said.

“The primary plan is more French flights but as I’ve indicated publicly, we do have contingency plans and we do have planes on standby should there be an issue with that,” he said.

Those on board the first two flights were filled with relief after days of failing to find a way off the island, said Fadi Chemali who was on the first plane to reach Australia.

“Everyone clapped once we landed, we were all just so happy,” he told AAP shortly after landing in Brisbane.

Chemali had been holidaying with his wife and daughter for a week before rioting erupted and spent eight days scrambling to find a way home.

“I didn’t see any of the violence up close but we heard a lot, including gunshots from where we were, it has been fairly intense.”

At least six people have died in the territory and hundreds have been injured since violence broke out last Monday.

French troops are trying to stem further unrest, with buildings razed, shops looted and roads barricaded.

Australia’s Consul-General in New Caledonia, Annelise Young, posted on X that her team had been working round the clock with officials in Canberra and Paris and closely with French authorities to ensure safe passage for Australian tourists.

New rules changing who is allowed to participate in the nation’s elections have been slammed by the Indigenous Kanaks, who fear their vote will be diluted by thousands of French nationals who have moved to the island.

About 270 rioters have been arrested and a 12-hour curfew imposed from 6pm to 6am.

France has sent over 1000 security personnel, with hundreds more to join, in a bid to quell the unrest.

The reopening of the international airport for commercial flights will be reassessed on Thursday.

Australia has urged people to reconsider travel to New Caledonia.

Those there have been advised to limit their movement.


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