22 Feb 2010

Ban on fires on cyclone hit Aitutaki

8:05 pm on 22 February 2010

The Cook Islands atoll of Aitutaki, which felt the full force of Cyclone Pat twelve days ago, is facing a critical fire hazard.

Pat caused extensive damage to housing on the island and destroyed many of its trees.

The Disaster Management Office's Charles Carlson says the island is covered in brown drying vegetation and they issued a warning for residents not to light any fires to burn off rubbish.

"Now there is always that element of risk of the fire hazard but basically people have been warned not to light fires."

Cook Islands' disaster management official Charles Carlson, speaking from Rarotonga, where he has sourced a metal compacter to be sent to Aitutaki to crush iron which was ripped off rooves by the cyclone.