25 Feb 2005

Australia gives more cyclone aid to the Cook Islands

7:06 pm on 25 February 2005

Australia will provide nearly eighty thousand US dollars to help Cook Island victims of Cyclone Olaf.

Australia's parliamentary secretary for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Bruce Billson, announced the grant will help restore essential services for locals and clear widespread cyclone debris.

Mr Billson says Australia will fund the transportation of much-needed fuel supplies to the outer islands and assist with clean-up operations.

Australian aid officials have been working closely with France and New Zealand under the FRANZ Agreement to help the Cook Island government recover from the disaster.

Mr Billson says Australia's increased assistance from an initial contribution of twenty three thousand US dollars, will be channelled through NZAID, the New Zealand government's overseas aid agency, which manages Australia's development programme in the Cook Islands.