17 Mar 2003

New Caledonia still assessing the impact of Cyclone Erica

3:25 pm on 17 March 2003

New Caledonia's southern province has formed an emergency committee to help those hit by last Friday's cyclone that brought the strongest gales seen in the territory for decades.

The committee, which is attached to the provincial government led by Jacques Lafleur, will assist in filing claims for damage caused by Cyclone Erica.

First emergency funds were released immediately after the passage of the cyclone, which killed two people and left more than a hundred injured.

Schools in Noumea have all been able to re-open while many facilities on the main island's far north are still being repaired, with the public being advised to wait for further notice.

Phone links to the far north are down, but the lines along both the west and east coast are being repaired.

The French minister in charge of overseas territories, Brigitte Girardin, is due to arrive in Noumea tomorrow for a 24 hour visit to look at the destruction.