19 Apr 2004

New Zealand funds flights to Fiji's interior and outlying islands

1:14 pm on 19 April 2004

Supplies have been dropped off to the interior parts of Fiji's main island Viti Levu where villages remain cut off by landslides following devastating floods.

NZ Aid's communications manager, Josie Pagani, says they funded the flight of a helicopter which delivered basic foodstuffs to keep 600 people supplied for a week.

She also says they chartered a plane for the first flight over the Lau and Lomaiviti islands, which were directly in the path of the storm and had been out of contact.

Ms Pagani says the NZ AID people on the flights say the interior has been worse hit than the smaller islands.

"There's quite a bit of damage there. I mean, in some cases, they flew over some areas where there was 80 percent of crop damage. So, although the smaller islands in the path of the storm are looking okay, some of the interior that's still cut off from landslides, has some pretty major damage - 80 percent in some places of crop damage is quite alarming."

Ms Pagani says New Zealand is waiting for a formal request from Fiji before it can commit to further assistance.

Fiji's cabinet is meeting today about the floods.