30 Apr 2014

Vanuatu chiefs wary of Efate airport

6:10 pm on 30 April 2014

The chiefs on the Vanuatu island of Efate have been invited to meet a parliamentary committee to discuss concerns about the country's planned new international airport.

The chief of Mele village, Chief Ati George Sokomanu, says he has warned the chiefs of Erakor, Eratap and Eton of the impact the airport could have on their people.

Chief Sokomanu says there may not be enough space to ensure gardens and new houses for future generations, and the airport could be dangerous to people living nearby.

"The thing is that have the people of Eton and Eratap really put their concerns before the government? And this concern does not concern only the financial side of things, which I mean the compensation and all that, but it also concerns the livelihood of the people."

Chief Ati George Sokomanu says the project will make money for the government and the private company in Singapore that will manage the new airport for 50 years, but not the people in the villages.