3 Mar 2005

Relocations possible from cyclone-devastated Nassau in Cooks

4:31 pm on 3 March 2005

Tropical Cyclone Percy is near Palmerston atoll in the Cook Islands as it is moving south between Rarotonga and Niue.

Palmerston is being hit by gale force winds as Percy is moving to within about 400 kilometres of Rarotonga.

The country's chief hurricane officer Pira Wichman ordered schools and public offices to remain closed today as the Southern group prepares for cyclone Percy.

Meanwhile, there is a suggestion that some people may have to be relocated from the cyclone devastated island of Nassau.

A boat filled with emergency supplies is headed for Pukapuka and Nassau and could arrive late tomorrow depending on the weather.

There are no reported injuries or casualties from Cyclone Percy which left 640 people on Pukapuka and Nassau with only rudimentary shelter.

Chief Inspector Teroi John Tini of the Emergency Operations Centre says some people may be taken off Nassau while repairs continue.

"There was a suggestion that the older folks and young children from Nassau may be relocated to Pukapuka to enable the adult population to do some cleaning and also repairing of existing buildings, and then to bring back those who have been"

relocated to Pukapuka.

Chief Inspector Teroi John Tini

Australia has given further cyclone relief to the Cook Islands.

It has increased its contribution to 120,000 US dollars and given Tokelau 40,000 US dollars.

Fiji has also released assistance, giving the Cook Islands 9,000 US dollars and 6,000 US dollars to Tokelau.