30 Mar 2005

New Zealand stresses doing utmost to help cyclone-hit Cook Islands recover

8:01 pm on 30 March 2005

New Zealand's high commissioner to the Cook Islands says his office is doing its utmost to help the northern islands recover from Cyclone Percy.

The head teacher of the school in Pukapuka has made a direct appeal for help to the New Zealand High Commission as scores of pupils can't go back because of the raw asbestos from broken roofing.

Vaopaaki Tearetoa says face masks and clearing-up gear have been sent to the island but he's yet to see any.

The high commissioner in Rarotonga, Kurt Meyer, stresses those tasked with the clean up MUST have the right training.

"The handling of asbestos, if that's the specific problem, requires pretty experienced and specialised work, and we would want to ensure that those that are dealing with the clean up and involved in asbestos, were experienced and had the right equipment to be able to deal with that."

The New Zealand high commissioner to the Cook Islands, Kurt Meyer.