Flattened: The unfolding emergency of Cyclone Pam

Grim aftermath: A child walks through the ruins of his family home with his father Phillip, on March 16 in Port Vila and, below, more scenes of the devastation in Vanuatu. Photo: Dave Hunt/Getty ImagesThe scale of the destruction wrought by Cyclone Pam on Vanuatu’s 65 islands is becoming apparent as news filters out of the tiny Pacific nation.
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Up to 70 per cent of the nation’s 69,000 households were damaged by the category-5 cyclone, with 100,000 of the country’s half-a-million people estimated to be homeless, and every single school thought to have been destroyed. The death toll stands at 24 and is rising.

It is a level of emergency almost unfathomable in Australia, and Vanuata’s president, Baldwin Londsdale, fears the numbers could worsen as contact is made with the nation’s outer islands.

“The humanitarian need is immediate, we need it right now,” he said. Starvation fears after crops wiped out

Grave fears are held for the southern island of Tanna, home to popular Australian tourist destination, the Evergreen Resort. Early reports from UN aerial surveys suggest that the 320 kilometre per hour winds have destroyed up to 70 per cent of the buildings on the island, including the resort.

The 29,000 inhabitants of Tanna took the full force of the storm and authorities are struggling to make contact, with runways damaged and communication systems down. According to reports from pilots there is only one known doctor available to treat the injuries.

All of the island’s crops were destroyed, and there are fears the population could starve, a Unicef spokesperson told The Independent.

‘Much more difficult than Haiyan’

Disaster zone veterans like Tom Skirrow from Save the Children said the relief effort was a logistical challenge greater than that posed by Typhoon Haiyan which took more than 7350 lives in the Philippines in 2013.

“I was present for the Haiyan response and I would 100 per cent tell you that this is a much more difficult logistical problem,” he said.

“The numbers are smaller but the percentage of the population that’s been affected is much bigger.” 85 per cent of homes damaged in Port Vila

 

The nation’s capital, Port Vila, has had 85 per cent of its homes damaged, and its population of more than 44,000 is desperate for resources, according to aid organisation CARE.

A prime ministerial spokesman, Benjamin Shing, said there may be enough food for a few more days and then people would be dependent on aid to survive.

The full impact of the cyclone is only going to become more apparent in the coming days as authorities make contact with remote islands and provinces.  Australia providing $5m in relief 

Australia has committed an initial $5 million in aid to non-governmental organisations working on the islands.

The foreign minister, Julie Bishop said that Australia will also be deploying humanitarian supplies to provide support for up to 5000 people in the form of water, sanitation and shelter.

“We will be sending military transport planes, and deployment personnel, medical, humanitarian, consular, natural disaster experts and of course supplies,” she said.

How you can help

The following charities have launched appeals to help those in Vanuatu affected by Cylone Pam:

UNICEF – Cyclone Pam Appeal 

Save the Children – Cyclone Pam Emergency Response 

CARE – Help CARE provide emergency relief in Vanuatu 

World Animal Protection – Cyclone Pam animal relief fund

with Wires 

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Nine’s Willoughby ‘home of television’ finally up for sale

Channel Nine’s famous Sydney headquarters, once dubbed the “home of television”, is up for sale. The 2.9 hectares in Willoughby is on the market with a value of more than $150 million.
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Nine has been broadcasting from the site on Artarmon Road for 50 years, its tenure dating back to the time of network founder Sir Frank Packer.

It was Sir Frank’s idea to hand out the now-legendary Christmas hampers to Nine’s neighbours after the network first began landing its helicopters at the site.

His son, Kerry Packer, took over the reins of the business and significantly upgraded the site over many years. He sold the network and site and then bought it back from Alan Bond in the early 1990s.

A Nine spokeswoman said: “If we are successful in the sale process, it means we may one day relocate from the Willoughby campus, but that will not happen any time soon”.

But the transmission tower that sits nearby is independently-owned by TX Australia, is located on a separate block, and will stay. The three transmissions dishes on the site will be demolished once the network leaves.

Discussions to sell the land for redevelopment started a decade ago but were shelved. The latest round was reignited about two years ago, but the plan has faced tough opposition from the local Willoughby Area Action Group.

After a lengthy battle, Nine will now sell the land to a developer. No sale price for the land disclosed but developers said the site could command up to $150 million, thanks to its city and district views.

In early January, Nine chief executive David Gyngell, whose father Bruce was the first person on Australian television, received the news that NSW Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) and the NSW Land and Environment Court had allowed an increase in the maximum number of apartments to 400 units, up from the previously approved 350 units. Among the significant details contained in the court’s determination are a 6 per cent reduction in overall floor space allowing more open space and less site coverage.

The apartments will be housed in five planned buildings will be limited to a maximum height of eight storeys. Two rows of terrace houses also form part of the plan.

Nine will sell property through CBRE’s Matt Ramsay and Scott Gray-Spencer on the basis of a leaseback, providing time for the network to secure new Sydney premises and move.

This will be the second such deal for Nine, which in 2010 sold its former Bendigo Street, Richmond site in Melbourne to Lend Lease, for a reported $50 million. The first stage sold out quickly and the second of three stages, of what is now a $450 million development was launched late last year.

Mr Ramsay said he expected significant local and offshore developer and investor interest. “The NSW government has a clear focus to address Sydney’s housing shortfall and this site is ideally positioned to deliver a project of significant scale in a highly desirable, north shore location,” he said.

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NBN is coming to a town near you, soon

An NBN tower is contructed near Watervale. PHOTO – Trevor Ackland.
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The much anticipated NBN is arriving in the region soon, with construction of towers in the lower north almost complete, and community consultation happening in the Southern Flinders this week.

The benefits of the NBN to businesses and residents included more consistent, reliable and faster internet speeds, an increase in the number of internet service providers, and more competitive pricing.

Community Information Sessions are the starting point to developing the National Broadband Network in a given area.

“We engage with the local community, explain time frames and construction requirements and generally explain the process to people.

“Before any construction begins we need to submit development applications with local councils, and those approvals need to be granted before we can start digging,” Peter Gurney, Lead Community Affairs Manager WA/NT/SA at NBN Co Limited, said.

He acknowledged that rural and regional communities were desperate for better broadband, and said communities appreciated that the infrastructure needed to be built.

NBN Co infrastructure was built to comply with national standards for electromagnetic energy and local planning rules.

“It then takes about 12 months from the time the build commences until the network is switched on in an area, depending on the location and the nature of the terrain,” Mr Gurney said.

People living and working in the area from Watervale to Tarlee have already observed towers being constructed, and were eagerly awaiting launch of the service, which is due in the second half of the year.

“Whilst it might appear that all infrastructure is in place, in some rural locations fibre connects to one tower, and all other towers are connected via microwave link.

“This means towers are interdependent on one another, and the entire system needs to be in place before any one tower can operate,” Mr Gurney said.

Where possible, NBN technology is co-located onto existing infrastructure, which keeps costs down and reduces construction time.

Systems are built for the number of premises in a given area, allowing for population growth into the future, which means speed and reliability should not fluctuate as it does with fixed wireless internet.

Many locals currently using mobile internet service have experienced variability in speed and connection, depending on the time of day or if there was an event that brought many visitors to the region (eg during the Clare Valley Gourmet Weekend), but this will not happen with fixed wireless internet.

Once the system is operational, internet service providers are able to sell fixed wireless internet to consumers using the NBN Co infrastructure.

Competition between providers is expected to push the retail price of internet access down to much lower levels than rural businesses and residents have experienced in the past.

Other towns in the current Fixed Wireless Internet rollout that should be able to access service by the end of the year include Leasingham, Auburn, Balaklava, Armagh, Brinkworth and surrounding districts.

A fixed wireless internet service connecting Gladstone, Laura, Wirrabara, Melrose and surrounding areas could be live within the next 18 months, with Clare, Jamestown, Crystal Brook, Peterborough and Burra to get fixed line technology within a similar time frame.

The NBN or National Broadband Network is an Australia wide upgrade of existing fixed line and internet infrastructure, focusing on closing the digital divide.

NBN Co is the business that is constructing the infrastructure, but is not a service provider.

In rural South Australia, fixed wireless facilities and satellite are the main technologies being implemented, with fixed line technology being offered in larger rural towns and cities.

Once service is available in an area, businesses and residents can go to the NBN Co website (www.nbnco南京夜网.au), search for their address and select a provider.

The provider will install an external antenna and a box within the premises, which will connect the business or household to the internet.

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Local beef producers make debut on national TV

Guyra beef producers Bill and Jacqui Mitchell have leapt from the paddock to the green room to appear on behalf of Coles in content pieces created specifically for Channel 7’s My Kitchen Rules on Tuesday March 17.
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Bill and Jacqui from Glenbrook Pastoral Company, who produce grass-fed beef for Coles, were among 12 outstanding Coles suppliers approached to appear on behalf of Coles in the top rating television program.

As Coles suppliers who have supplied the supermarket with beef for four years, Bill and Jacqui run 2000 cattle on their property and recently began supplying cattle for Coles’ new grass-fed beef range, GRAZE.

Coles General Manager of Meat, Allister Watson, said Coles was pleased to support Bill and Jacqui’s appearance on My Kitchen Rules because of his commitment to quality beef.

“Coles source products directly from hundreds of beef producers across Australia. Highlighting their great products to a national audience through My Kitchen Rules is another way we can celebrate local suppliers as well as the great food grown on family farms,” he said.

“We were delighted to nominate Bill and Jacqui on behalf of Coles in My Kitchen Rules and, in doing so, shine the national spotlight on such an innovative NSW business that produces high-quality grass-fed beef.”

“NSW producers such as the Mitchell family are vital in ensuring Australians have excellent fresh local food to buy at Coles. It’s our belief in companies like Glenbrook Pastoral Company which drives our efforts to source Australian-grown food whenever and wherever possible.”

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More Yass Show photos

More Yass Show photos The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended, including stall holder William Shakespear. Photo: Jessica Cole.
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The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

Norwegian Fjord displayed by Lesley Cameron.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

Chris Broers with Prince. Won supreme Champion Clydesdale at Yass Show.

Class 78 Other heavy horses won by Leisa Doggett’s Welsh Cob D Nullah

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

The 152nd Yass Show was great fun for all who attended. Photo: Jessica Cole.

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