18 Mar 2005

Boat arrives with food and water on Pukapuka in the Cook Islands

3:45 pm on 18 March 2005

The Cook Islands police commissioner says a boat with 30 tonnes of food and water has arrived on cyclone-devastated Pukapuka.

Pira Wichman, who heads the emergency disaster relief management team, says the fishing boat had departed from American Samoa earlier in the week.

Mr Wichman says now that the food and water situation has been addressed, the next priority is fuel.

"We are also planning to send from Rarotonga a boat with more food and fuel, diesel, kerosene and petrol, because we need that fuel up there to be able to operate the chainsaws and all the machines, the Bobcats that we are in the process of sending up to Pukapuka."

Mr Wichman says a boat with fuel and more food and supplies is expected to leave in two days.

Meanwhile an assessment from a French naval boat and helicopter which visited Pukapuka and Nassau this week is expected soon.