9 Jun 2010

Some Aitutaki residents in Cook Islands still living in tents, four months after cyclone

8:08 am on 9 June 2010

Some residents on Aitutaki in the Cook Islands are still living in tents four months after Cyclone Pat devastated the island, with building efforts yet to begin on the most severely damaged homes.

The Aitutaki mayor, Tai Herman, says 128 of the lesser damaged houses have been repaired, with funds from the Cook Islands government.

But the work on the the category three and four homes, the most damaged homes that are to be funded by New Zealand, has not begun.

Tai Herman says he's concerned that time is ticking quickly down towards the next cyclone season.

"There's a little concern now that we haven't started on category three and four and the cyclone season is nearing within the next five months so we're just waiting to see as to when can we start but it's getting a little bit frustrating as to things are not being addressed right now. Funding has not come through, I think that is the problem. It's about money, money is the problem. We've got the human resources, we've got resources here on the islands, it's money."

The Aitutaki mayor, Tai Herman.

The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says the Aitutaki reconstruction plan for category 3 and 4 homes is close to finalisation.

It says once the plan has been agreed, funding can be released for the reconstruction.