22 Feb 2005

Cook Islanders off work today to help with clean-up following Cyclone Olaf

4:09 pm on 22 February 2005

The costs of cleaning up in the Cook Islands are still being counted after the country was hit by three cyclones in less than a month.

Public servants and others are off work today to help with a community wide effort to get back to normal in the wake of the latest cyclone, Olaf.

Chief Inspector Tearoa John Tini says a team of 13 military personnel from French Polynesia and a team of technicians from New Zealand are also on Rarotonga to help restore communications and clear debris.

"The roads are cleared and they are now being used. It's just the cleaning of the broken trees, the fallen down trees and the rocks to be put back down at the beach - mainly the cleaning up. There's no problems with restoring the water, the water pipes are still intact."

Chief Inspector Tini says the southern islands of Mauke and Mangaia were hit hardest with both harbours extensively damaged.

And, he says builders and materials are to be sent to Aitutaki to repair the college roof which was partially blown off by the winds.