23 Feb 2005

Cook Islanders pitch in to help with clean-up following Cyclone Olaf

11:12 am on 23 February 2005

Public servants and others in the Cook Islands had the day off work yesterday in order to help with the clean-up following Cyclone Olaf, the third to batter the country in less than a month.

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

He says the government is planning to send across builders and materials to Aitutaki to repair the college roof which was partially blown away by the winds.

But, he says the most damage was on the southern islands of Mangaia and Mauke.

"Both their harbours have been extensively damaged. The whole platform where the loading and unloading of the boats are to be done from - it's all been uplifted and shifted somewhere else. Each individual island are trying the best they can to clear the debris from the harbours to enable boats to start calling in and bringing in cargo."

Chief Inspector Tini says it's too early to put a cost on damages but it's likely to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.