13 May 2010

NZ and Australia assist Fiji victims of Cyclone Tomas

12:21 pm on 13 May 2010

New Zealand's Acting Head of Mission in Fiji says the local authorities have responded well to Cyclone Tomas which directly affected more than 39,000 people.

The cyclone destroyed more than 500 homes and damaged more than 1,000 in March, and also heavily damaged about 25 health facilities and 15 schools.

The Australian government is now contributing a further 900,000 US dollars to repair schools and health centres, while New Zealand is pledging 428,000 US dollars to rebuild and repair homes through Habitat for Humanity Fiji.

New Zealand's acting head of mission, Phillip Taula, says the Fiji authorities and non-profit organisations have made quite an effort to ensure conditions are adequate for those affected by the cyclone.

"The information we have is that things are manageable. But obviously the quicker we can get there houses replaced the better for everyone. A lot of the families have been staying with relatives and a lot of the other arrangements are more of a temporary nature."

Phillip Taula says the reconstruction of homes should begin within the next few months.