15 Jan 2009

NZ likely to filter more flood-relief assistance through to Fiji

6:49 pm on 15 January 2009

The military Government in Fiji has now formally asked for international assistance, as it struggles to get aid to thousands of people left homeless in the flooding.

Until now international relief had been coming in through the Red Cross and going straight to those in need, but this new request is for Government to Government funding.

New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key says his country is likely to offer more assistance to Fiji.

Earlier in the week, New Zealand gave 59 000 US dollars to the Red Cross, and Mr Key says any additional assitance will be made through the NGO sector.

"We've obviously made a contribution and we're assessing whether more is required. Mr McCully is handling the situation... inevitably will probably put in more."

Fiji's National Disaster Management Office says the 122 evacuation centres dealing with the floods now shelter almost 10,000 evacuees across the Fiji islands.

The Office says that of the eleven people to have been killed by the floods, one body is still to be retrieved.

It says that all the divisions have submitted reports on the assessment of the damage caused by flooding in their areas, estimating a minimum total cost at around 18 million US dollars, a figure expected to rise considerably.