Government urges Aussies to ‘reconsider’ plans to visit Noumea as New Caledonia death toll hits five

Government urges Aussies to ‘reconsider’ plans to visit Noumea as New Caledonia death toll hits five

The Australian government is urging Australians to “reconsider” travel to metropolitan Noumea after the French government declared the Pacific Islands territory to be in a state of emergency.

(Featured image: 9 News)

Latest advice on the government’s Smartraveller website said tourists should avoid the island’s capital city “due to civil unrest, travel disruptions and limited essential services”.

The protests and violence broke out ahead of a vote in the French National Assembly on changes to the New Caledonian constitution.

Aussies have been told to exercise a “high degree of caution elsewhere in New Caledonia due to protests and travel disruptions”.

Whilst there had been talks about the international airport re-opening on Friday (today), Smartraveller confirmed that La Tontouta International Airport remains closed and flights have been cancelled until further notice.

A state of emergency remains in place and there’s a curfew for the Noumea metropolitan area between 6pm and 6am until further notice.

Five people have now been reported to have died in the riots including two police officers and three local Kanak people.

The Prime Minister of France, Gabriel Attal, announced on Thursday that 1,000 extra security personnel are being sent to the island and will arrive on Friday night local time. This lifts the number of police and gendarmes from 1,700 to 2,700.

“The situation in New Caledonia remains very tense, with looting, riots, fires, attacks which are unbearable,” Attal said.

As well as the five dead, hundreds are reported to have been wounded in the conflict.

The Australian Consulate-General in Noumea is temporarily closed. Australians needing emergency consular assistance should contact the Australian Government’s 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on 1300 555 135 (within Australia) or +61 2 6261 3305 (from overseas).

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