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Getting to know Vanuatu, an island country in danger of drowning

by Grace Sabathya

Maybe Indonesia is included in the largest archipelago in the world, besides the Philippines. But in this world there are still island countries besides Indonesia. This island country isn’t far from Indonesia and close to the Pacific Ocean, this country is called the Republic of Vanuatu. Maybe most of us are still quite foreign with this country. Now, to getting know Vanuatu, an island country in danger of drowning, let’s look at the explanation below!

Characteristics of Vanuatu

Republic of Vanuatu or Ripablik blong Vanuatu in Bislama is an island country located in the southern Pacific Ocean. In addition, this country is also located east of the land of kangaroos, Australia, west of the country of Fiji, south of the Solomon Islands and northeast of New Caledonia. The name Vanuatu itself comes from the word “vanua” which means land or house. The word is also in Austronesian. While the word “tu” has a standing meaning, so that when combined the two words indicate the independent status of a new country.

Based on the history of the origin of the people of Vanuatu that the native inhabitants of the country came from the Melanesian people or the same as the people of Papua. For the first time, the country of Vanuatu was visited by Europeans led by Fernandes de Queiros who came from Portugal while the fleet came from Spain in 1606. At that time the Spanish and Portuguese countries were still united and had been under the leadership of the King of Spain since 1580. So it is not surprising that Queiros considers the Vanuatu islands as belonging to Spain, which is known as part of the Spanish East Indies. Before becoming a country of Vanuatu, the country had the name La Austrialia del Espiritu Santo.

The existence of war, causing the country of Vanuatu successfully fell into the hands of France and Great Britain (England) in 1880. The two countries finally made an agreement and agreed to form a joint government or known as condominiums in 1906 and named the New Hebrides. Just like Indonesia, the population of the country of Vanuatu also made an independence movement and only appeared around 1970 and on July 30, 1980 the state of Vanuatu was independent from France and the United Kingdom. Since that time the Republic of Vanuatu has joined international organizations such as the United Nations (UN), the British Commonwealth, Francophonie and also the Pacific Islands Forum.

Vanuatu Government System

The State of Vanuatu is a commonwealth country so it is not surprising that this country’s government system implements a Parliamentary Republican system. The capital city of Vanuatu is in the city of Port Vila and is one of the largest cities. In the Parliamentary Republican system there is a President as head of state and a Prime Minister as head of government. The country of Vanuatu itself consists of 6 provinces that have been established since 1994. Each province has a name derived from the first letter of each island in Vanuatu, including:

  • Malampa (Malakula, Ambrym, Paama)
  • Penama (Pentecost, Ambae, Maewo)
  • Sanma (Santo, Malo)
  • Shefa (Shepherd, Efate)
  • Tafea (Tanna, Aniwa, Futuna, Erromango, Aneityum)
  • Torba (Torres, Banks).

Threatened to Drowning

Global warming that occurred some time ago, has increased sea level rise quite significantly in several regions around the world. This was made clear by the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres after he posed on the cover of Time magazine with the title Planet Kita Drowning. According to him there are about 9 countries in the Pacific Ocean threatened to sink as a result of global warming. The nine countries include:

  • Tuvalu
  • Samoa
  • Nauru
  • Kiribati
  • Salomon Islands
  • Fiji Islands
  • Marshall Islands
  • Maldives Islands
  • Vanuatu

Vanuatu is one of the countries that is quite anxious according to the UN because this country is quite often hit by natural disasters both from air and water. In total, the whole country of Vanuatu has an area of ​​around 12 thousand square kilometers with a population of 286 thousand people and the volume of sea water is quite high. Based on research, an increase in sea level as much as 1 cm every year.

The Nature of Vanuatu

In order getting to know Vanuatu, an island country in danger of drowning, we should learn the nature of it. There are about 67 thousand foreign tourists come every year to Vanuatu to travel to enjoy the natural beauty there. Not only has beautiful beaches, the attractions of Vanuatu can also be found by climbing on Mount Yasur. Mount Yasur is one of the active volcanoes. The mountain which has a height of about 361 meters above sea level is the most visited by tourists in the morning and evening. Visitors who are close to Mount Yasur can still hear sounds coming from inside the mountain.

Besides mountains, Vanuatu also has other natural attractions in the form of a cave called the Millennium Cave. This cave has a height of about 50 meters with a width of 20 meters can be traced or for those who like to challenge this cave can be climbed on the cliff. From the top of the Millennium Cave visitors will be able to see the beauty that comes from the tropical rain forests in Vanuatu.

For lovers of water tourism, Vanuatu has a fairly famous waterfall tour named Mele Cascades. Many foreign tourists come to visit this place to enjoy the clarity of the water and the distinctive sound of the waterfall and its beauty. Other water tourism can be found at Blue Holes which is a spring surrounded by coral rocks. If the reflection of sunlight is in good condition, the clear spring water will look bright blue like a painting from heaven. Those are how us getting to know Vanuatu, an island country in danger of drowning.

Having Problems With Indonesia

There is one problem that has been created by Vanuatu to finally infuriate the Indonesian state that is, successfully smuggling West Papuan separatist figure named Benny Wenda to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (KTHAM) in Geneva. Benny Wenda submitted an independence referendum petition, and this is not the first time Vanuatu has interfered in the affairs of the Indonesian state. In the past the Republic of Vanuatu has voiced West Papua’s independence in the UN forum, although at that time the trial agenda did not address the issue.

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