8 Mar 2005

Reconstruction costs in Cook Islands following cyclones could exceed 25 million U.S. dollars

7:03 pm on 8 March 2005

The Cook Islands Finance minister, Sir Geoff Henry, says the reconstruction costs from four cyclones in as many weeks could total more than 25 million U.S. dollars.

He says this is an initial estimate as a team has only just been able to fly to Pukapuka in the north to undertake an assessment of the devastation caused by Cyclone Percy which battered both it and nearby Nassau.

Sir Geoff says a team has estimated that damage from earlier cyclones to the southern islands, including Mangaia, Mauke, Aitutaki and Rarotonga, will be in excess of 7 million U.S. dollars.

He says for example, that the harbour in Mangaia must be completely rebuilt.

"The costs for repairing the harbour were such that we decided that instead of worrying how much it would cost to repair, we should look at a complete reconstruction of the harbour altogether."

Sir Geoff says once all the assessments are in, the government will move ahead with reconstruction plans.