8 Feb 2005

Cook Islands government taking action to speed recovery following cyclone

2:32 pm on 8 February 2005

The Cook Islands government is taking action to speed the recovery process in the wake of cyclone Meena.

The deputy police commissioner, Maara Tetava, who's been stationed at the National Emergency Operations centre throughout the cyclone, says cabinet was briefed this morning on the reports of initial damages.

Aitutaki, Rarotonga and Mangaia were all hit by waves and high winds, and sustained damages to roads, wharves and some buildings.

Mr Tetava says they can't put a total on the extent of the costs at this point as assessments are continuing but cabinet has given the go-ahead for the clean-up effort to be speeded up.

"Cabinet is determined to have the clean up done as quickly as possible. For example, all public servants will be given two days off from work to help with the clean up of Rarotonga as well as each outer island, and funds have been put aside for the recovery."

Mr Tetava says a team will be formed to fly to Aitutaki and Mangaia for a full assessment of the damages.

Meanwhile, the authorities in French Polynesia have lifted a cyclone warning for the Austral islands.