Cyclone Pam puts 2017 Vanuatu Mini Games in doubt
Damage from Cyclone Pam has affected sites being used for the 2017 Pacific Mini Games in Port Vila, putting the future of the Games in doubt.
Preparations for the 2017 Pacific Mini Games in Vanuatu are in doubt in the aftermath of Cyclone Pam.
Demolition work was due to begin last week on the main stadium in Port Vila, but has now been put on hold.
The Chief Executive of the 2017 Mini Games, Joe Bomal Carlo, told Vinnie Wylie that Port Vila has been flattened in the last few days, causing major damage to Games venues.
JOE BOMAL CARLO: The impact is absolutely devastating. We will see how it pans out when all this clean-up is all done with. The government will have to come back to the drawing board and decide from then on whether we move ahead with this or what decision needs to be made within the hierarchy of the government at the top.
VINNIE WYLIE: The entire 2017 Games is basically in Port Vila isn't it so that's put you back quite a bit in your progress?
JBC: As it is, I'm at the office right in the centre of town and the town is completely flattened and I need to find a way to get to the stadium because the roads are blocked everywhere, the power-lines are down - it's devastating. The stadium is supposed to be coming down this week, to make way for the Chinese team to come and start building the new complex, but now I'm not sure where we're going from here. It's not very positive and we will see where we go on from there.
VW: So that's the Kornan comple - that's going to be the main stadium, the main venue for the Games?
JBC: That's the main venue for the Games - the Kornan Complex. There's the renovation of the cricket ground, the archery, the tennis court with the beach volleyball courts so it's major [and] it's going to take time and we will see how we go as soon as all this clears up.
VW: Prior to any of this from Cyclone Pam was everything going according to schedule in terms of when venues were going to be completed?
JBC: It's going to be behind time so it's touch and go from here on. Works have taken place earlier in the year but we've been working with the aid donors with the Chinese government. The team was in fact in Vanuatu two months ago, to oversee the designs and the buildings and all that - so that's on the drawing board - and we are waiting to get the place cleared for their work to begin as soon as possible because it's quite a major task ahead of us. The reality is that with the way it is - the face of Port Vila now being flattened on its face - it's going to be quite a task to try and see where we're going.
VW: What about the financial impact? Obviously the government is supporting VASANOC [National Olympic Committee] in putting on these Games for the region. It's obviously a very expensive rebuild and a lot of damage and it's all going to take time and money to repair.
JBC: Yes, the financial implication is the major issue here because most of the running of the Games will be on the Vanuatu government. Its priority is not sport - priority is more getting the country back on track nationally. With the economic downturn and all that, then the cyclone, it really is the main task to move forward from here. As they're going to be following up all these issues, we will sort out our end and see our house is in order before we move ahead so it's really back to the drawing board of what's happening with the 2017 Games.
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