15 Jan 2003

Fiji waits on aerial assessment of cyclone damage

4:25 pm on 15 January 2003

Five Fiji navy and government vessels loaded with supplies are on stand by ready to sail to the aid of victims of Cyclone Ami in the northern and eastern islands of the group.

Radio Fiji says the vessels will be on their way once the damage assessment report of an aerial survey currently under way is available.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force Orion aircraft which has the survey team on board is due to touch down in about an hour.

Meanwhile the second island of Vanua Levu, Taveuni and the islands of the Lau and Lomaiviti groups are still without electricity, piped water and telecommunicatons.

The large town of Labasa is totally without water supplies, leading to fears of disease.

Damage to telecommunications is reported to be extensive with aircraft flying in replacement equipment and technicians.