27 Feb 2010

NZ relief mission reaches remote Cooks atoll

10:00 pm on 27 February 2010

A New Zealand relief mission has delivered an emergency package of food, medical and building supplies to one of the Cook Islands' most remote atolls.

Because of bad weather a supply ship has not visited the atoll of Penrhyn for five months, and last week it was hit by a storm that destroyed homes.

A Royal New Zealand Air Force Hercules left Rarotonga on Saturday morning carrying a generator, chainsaws and emergency building, medical and food supplies.

The atoll, three hours north of Rarotonga, is home to about 200 people.

Meanwhile, a tropical cyclone in the southern part of the Cook Islands is expected to weaken during the next 24 hours.

Metservice says Cyclone Sarah is moving very slowly just off Palmerston, near Rarotonga, and is expected to weaken by Sunday afternoon.

Earlier on Saturday, Cook Islanders were warned to prepare for Sarah just two weeks after Cyclone Pat left a trail of damage.