7 Jan 2004

Tonga's acting prime minister to visit damaged northern islands

1:38 pm on 7 January 2004

The Acting Prime Minister of Tonga says he will travel to the northern islands of the kingdom on Thursday to assess damage done by cyclone Heta.

Clive Edwards says reports indicate 11 concrete and timber houses have been severely damaged on Niuatoputapu but he says he expects many more tongan-style homes to be destroyed.

However Mr Edwards says there have been no reports of casualties.

He says crops on Niuatoputapu have been destroyed while 50 percent of the crops on neighbouring Niuafo'ou have also been destroyed.

Mr Edwards says some temporary assistance has already been sent.

"We've made some temporary relief, it's only very parital to cover some of the more drastic cases with tarpaulins and temporary huts that have been artranged for Niuatoputapu."

The Acting Prime Minister of Tonga, Clive Edwards.