23 Mar 2005

Cook Islands government urged to to act in cyclone relief efforts

3:22 pm on 23 March 2005

The Cook Islands government is being called on to act more urgently in its relief efforts as more than 200 people remain homeless on Pukapuka, four weeks after cyclone Percy struck.

Pukapuka's mayor, Tere Mataio, says they also desperately need water because he expects supplies to run out within three to four days despite a recent shipment to the island.

He says they're now in the dry season and little rain is expected to fall but the situation is being made worse because there are few roofs on houses to be able to collect any water.

Mr Mataio says the government is playing politics and they need building supplies sent as quickly as possible.

"We want the government to send our needs urgently so that we can build our houses and put the roofs on soon, quickly so that we can have water in our tanks, and also accommodation for all families who have nothing, no shelter now."

Mr Mataio says approximately 200 people out of the more than 600 on the island are sheltering either with neighbours or at the school so there is concern at the overcrowded living conditions.