8 Jan 2004

Niue mourns the death of a young woman

3:24 pm on 8 January 2004

The extent of the damage inflicted on Niue by Tropical Cyclone Heta is emerging today.

Heta destroyed the hospital, and the capital Alofi's township, leaving many homeless, and also killed a woman

Three emergency aid flights, including a New Zealand air force Hercules, have landed on the tiny island, as relief efforts in the wake of the devastating storm swing into action.

Niue's High Commmissioner to New Zealand, Hima Takalesi, who spoke by satellite phone this morning, says technicians are working hard to establish communication links.

Mr Takalesi says it's a tragedy that Heta claimed the life of a young local woman, and seriously injured her baby son.

Mr Takalesi whose on Niue says it was a freak wave that washed over the island which stands 80 metres above sea level that killed the young woman.

"Unfortunately we had one casualty: a young woman, she lost her life. She was buried in the debris when a gigantic wave demolished her house. She was in the house with her little boy. The little boy is fighting for his life."

Niue's High Commmissioner to New Zealand, Hima Takalesi.