7 Jan 2003

Solomon's National Disaster Council will find out more about delays in providing help

10:28 am on 7 January 2003

The Chairman of the Solomon Islands National Disaster Council, Caspar Fa'asala, says he he will be looking into the delays in providing help to the cyclone damaged islands, Tikopia and Anuta.

Mr Fa'asala says his organisation's reaction was delayed by the country's well known financial problems, the Christmas holidays, the islands isolation and the lack of communications.

But he says aid donors had been informed of the cyclone's potential impact well before it hit, and he says they were assuming the donors would be able to respond as quickly as possible.

Australia, New Zealand and France have faced criticism over the delay, but New Zealand Foreign Minister Phil Goff says they could not act without a formal request from the Solomons Government.

Meannwhile a preliminary assessment on Tikopia has revealed the impact was less than feared and Mr Fa'asala says fortunately the delay was not significant:

"I think in the siutation where there were not much injuries, it would not make much difference and that is one of the things that people were fortunate that there were not much serious casualties."