12 Jan 2004

Niue cyclone damage assessment yet to be completed

11:34 am on 12 January 2004

Aid to Niue is pouring in, but it could be another week or two before it's known how big the damage is.

Tropical Cyclone Heta killed one person, and destroyed at least 90 percent of the infrastructure and agriculture.

New Zealand's disaster relief co-ordinator for NZ Aid and former deputy High Commissioner to Niue, Christine Day, who returned from Niue on Friday says it's still too early to put a cost on the damage caused by Heta.

"We have still assessors on the ground from the ministry of civil defence and emergency management, also from the International Red Cross,. And I understand from the Australians that they have got people assessing that over there at the moment and we hope to get a good read of that early this week and then we'll know the extent of the long-term impact on the recovery of Niue."

Ms Day says some essential services are still operating, like the airport and the wharf, and nearly all the water pumps are operating.

But she says communication is still down, with a Satellite Dish expected from the Cook Islands by the end of the week.