1 Mar 2005

Cook Islands officially requests assistance from NZ government

2:14 pm on 1 March 2005

An official request for assistance has been made by the Cook Islands government to New Zealand.

Jonathan Schwass, a spokesperson for New Zealand Aid, says they will act on the request from the Cook Islands to be help get supplies to the northern islands.

But, he says they're waiting on a report from a reconnaissance flight over Pukapuka to see if a direct flight is possible.

"It's not clear yet if the airfield at Pukapuka is serviceable. If it's not usable, then the supplies may have to be flown in to Penrhyn which is, of course, some distance away, and then shipped on to Pukapuka and Nassau. Now, this still has to be worked out."

Mr Schwass says emergency supplies of food, water, tarpaulins and tents may have to be sent to the two islands.