1 Mar 2005

Hundreds in Cooks lose homes as Percy blasts Pukapuka and Nassau

7:25 am on 1 March 2005

Cyclone Percy has left the populations of the northern Cook Islands of Pukapuka and Nassau, homeless.

The storm blew through the islands this afternoon and deputy police commissioner, Ma'ara Tetava, at the Emergency Operations Centre, says the homes of the 600 people who live on Pukapuka have been damaged.

He says they either lost roofs, were swamped by the sea surge, or both.

Deputy commissioner Tetava says there has been extensive damage.

"Most of the houses have been damaged, roof and structural damage The main road is blocked by debris, theres broken trees, rocks and sand brought in by sea surge. And there's some small fishing boats missing from the island, with no-one on board eh, and crop damage."

Deputy commissioner Tetava says on Nassau, where forty people live, all the houses have been damaged in some fashion.

People are now sheltering in one of the local churches there, which has received some damage but people are inside and sheltering under it.