25 Jan 2013

Southern Cooks on alert for Cyclone Garry

5:48 pm on 25 January 2013

A Tropical Cyclone warning is now in effect for all of the Southern Cook Islands ahead of Cyclone Garry's expected landfall within the next 24.

The Category three system has been moving in easterly direction towards Aitutaki.

A hotel owner on Aitutaki in the Cook Islands says the atoll has spent all day preparing for the arrival of Cyclone Garry.

Mike White, from the Aretamanu beach hotel, says cyclones are fact of life for the people of Aitutaki, but the people are particularly nervous this year after the devastating effect of Cyclone Pat nearly two years ago.

"The island has done a big clean up. Loose iron around the island, we've cleared that all up so we don't have loose debris that could fly around and injure people. We've cleared our wharf, all containers are now off the wharf, all boats are out of the water. This year with Cyclone Pat in recent memory, it's prompted everyone to perhaps act a little earlier than we normally would."

Mike White says Cyclone Garry is expected to pass over Aitutaki relatively quickly, but relief centres will open in case the effects are more damaging than expected.