14 Feb 2006

French warship to provide help for flood hit Wallis and Futuna

3:55 pm on 14 February 2006

The prefect of the flood-hit islands Futuna and Wallis says the French warship, Jacques Cartier, may be able to help travellers stranded between the islands.

Torrential rain and high seas in the past three weeks have caused flooding on both islands and have shut down the only airstrip in Futuna.

There had been reports that the French vessel would be bringing food from New Caledonia but the Prefect Xavier De Furst says that's not the case.

"We don't need any food and equipment. Perhaps we have to put some equipment between Wallis and Futuna. But we don't need any equipment from other countries. The situation is not so dreadful."

He says the ship may be able to get passengers, such as school students and teachers, to both islands, after the bad weather had delayed the start of the school term.