23 Jan 2003

Fiji PM promises all possible help to cyclone victims

7:46 am on 23 January 2003

The Fiji government has promised that it will do everything possible to help the 100 thousand victims of Cyclone Ami which devestated the country's northern and eastern islands last week.

The prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, says the government will do its best to meet the immediate needs of victims for food, water and shelter.

Mr Qarase says the rehabilitation will be a long process which will be undertaken in phases with the first phase covering the provision of basic necessities.

Mr Qarase also says the beginning of the new school term scheduled for next week will be deferred in the cyclone affected areas.

He says government assistance will include the provision of additional funding to schools to cover various levies such as school fees, books, building funds and admission fees for new students that parents are normally required to pay.

The government will also supply essential teaching and learning resources.

As well, the education ministry will ask schools not to enforce the wearing of normal uniforms in the first school term.

The government has estimated total cyclone damage at upwards of 25 million US dollars with the Labasa business community estimating its stock losses at 10 million US dollars.