18 Mar 2010

Aitutaki mayor clarifies response to Habitat offer

6:05 pm on 18 March 2010

The Mayor of Aitutaki in the Cook Islands Tai Herman denies that the Island Council has rejected a general offer of help in the reconstruction of the cyclone-ravaged island by the organisation Habitat for Humanity.

Habitat had submitted a proposal to build 78 homes for those who lost their houses during Cyclone Pat last month, which the island council has rejected because it felt the houses would not be strong enough to withstand cyclones.

Cook Islands officials are expected to finalise which housing reconstruction plan will be carried out on Aitutaki by the end of the week.

Mr Herman says people are keen to have houses with concrete foundations.

"We didn't reject the offer made by habitat in total, just the building package that we didn't go along with. The housing package offered by habitat, yes, it's fine, there is nothing wrong about that but we just didn't think that it suits the loacl environment."

Tai Herman, the Aitutaki mayor