19 Mar 2003

French minister tours cyclone-ravaged New Caledonia

10:38 am on 19 March 2003

The French minister in charge of overseas territories, Brigitte Girardin, has toured New Caledonia to assess the destruction caused by Cyclone Erica.

The storm, which struck early last Friday, with the strongest winds to hit the territory in decades, claimed two lives, injured dozens, and caused huge damage.

Estimates put damage to schools alone at more than 15 million US dollars.

Ms Girardin announced that Paris would provide just over 200,000 US dollars for disaster relief, which comes on top of the 300,000 made available immediately after the storm.

This comes after the government of the southern province released more than 5 million US dollars to employ 1-thousand people to help with the rehabilitation process.