Australia, NZ evacuating people from New Caledonia

The governments of Australia and New Zealand are working to evacuate people from crisis-hit New Caledonia. The French Pacific territory's airport is out of action after more than a week of violent political unrest.

Leaders in Canberra sent two planes on Tuesday as part of plans to transport as many as 300 stranded Australians. Arrangements are underway for Japanese nationals to board as well.

New Zealand is sending a military plane. Government officials say they plan to first evacuate 50 people deemed high priority.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters said they are focusing on the safety of New Zealanders and others who have asked for help.

The riots broke out on May 13th. The unrest stems from a proposal in Paris to amend New Caledonia's voting rules. Pro-independence islanders oppose the change.

Authorities imposed a state of emergency last week. Six people including two French police officers have died.