16 Jan 2009

Fiji in desperate need of clean water

6:43 am on 16 January 2009

The interim government in Fjii says the country is in desperate need of clean drinking water.

After almost a week of heavy flooding Fiji has now formally asked for international assistance. About 8000 people are in 123 evacuation centres.

The New Zealand Government has been giving urgent consideration to a list of requested items sent by Fiji.

Permanent Foreign Affairs Secretary Ratu Isoa Gavidi says clean water, water tanks and water purification tablets are at the top of the list.

He says some areas have no water supplies at all and may be without it for two or three weeks.

Japan has already sent boxes of bottled water.

He says clothing, bedding and tents are also needed.

The New Zealand Government has already announced US59,000 in assistance.

Radio New Zealand International reports Australia is providing more than $US100,000 to the Red Cross and disaster management services there.

Tonga is making a donation of $US60,000.

The United States is to contribute $US50,000 to non-governmental organisations.