6 Feb 2003

Cyclone Dovi on path to southern Cook Islands

5:22 pm on 6 February 2003

The Cook Islands is bracing itself for Cyclone Dovi which is intensifying and slowly moving southwest at about 10 knots.

The Fiji Meterological Service say Cyclone Dovi is expected to reach the Southern Cooks within the next 24 to 48 hours.

Since last night, gale force winds have lashed the northern Cooks Islands.

The Cook Islands Civil Defence says reports from the Northern islands of Suwarrow, Manihiki, Pukapuka and Nassau indicate minimal damage to homes.

Its Operations Commander, Inspector Tangaroa says that there is concern for Rakahanga island because of the loss of communication links there.

He says attempts are currently underway to establish links with Rakahanga island

"We're getting some observation there from those in the northern group and no damage there has been reported. There is one island, Rakahanga, there is a breakdown of communication but were trying to raise them up and to give us a call. I'm going onto the Cook Islands Radio to call them for them to respond to us."

Inspector Tangaroa from the Cook Islands Civil Defence.

He says that his office is working with the New Zealand High Commissioner to coordinate relief efforts to the outer islands.