17 Jan 2003

Many countries offer assistance to victims of Cyclone Ami

12:09 pm on 17 January 2003

Britain, France and Japan have joined New Zealand and Australia in offering assistance to Ami's victims.

The French embassy in Suva says France is ready to offer assistance through the FRANZ agreement between the governments of France, Australia and New Zealand.

The Japanese embassy says it will consider what form of assistance to give after the damage has been assessed.

The British say they are also ready to provide immediate assistance once the Fiji government makes known its needs.

Many of the small islands are reported to be running out of food as villagers eat the remaining breadfruit and tapioca damaged by the cyclone.

Taveuni is also running out of food because the island's only jetty has been damaged and local ships are not able to berth.

Taveuni provides about 80 per cent of Fiji's taro exports but these are expected to drop sharply because the plantations have been severely damaged.