16 Feb 2010

Cook Islands Red Cross defends aid effort on Aitutaki

6:57 am on 16 February 2010

The Cook Islands Red Cross says emergency officials are doing the best they can to meet the needs of those on the cyclone-hit island of Aitutaki.

New Zealand sent yesterday an Airforce Hercules to the Cook Islands with supplies and personnel to help with the recovery from Cyclone Pat.

The plane will transport aid from the Cook Islands and New Zealand governments, and the Red Cross to Aitutaki today.

Some locals have criticised the relief effort for being too slow.

But Cook Islands Red Cross Secretary General, Niki Rattle says there is food, water and shelter to meet the needs of people until the Hercules arrives.

"Most of the families are either in community housing or they are being housed with family and friends, and so sufficient for now but there is a great need to have emergency shelter for families as they wait for the next step to kick in."

Niki Rattle says transporting large items needed for the relief effort has been difficult.