19 Jan 2004

Niue phone link restored after Cyclone Heta

7:57 am on 19 January 2004

Telephone services to Niue have been restored after links were cut by the massive destruction caused by Cyclone Heta.

But on Niue not all numbers are operating because of cable damage.

The services were restored using equipment supplied through NZAid and Telecom New Zealand.

There are more appeals to be held in the Cook Islands to help cyclone victims in Niue.

By the end of last week, an appeal in Rarotonga had raised more than 100-thousand New Zealand dollars.

The head of the appeal committee, Norman George, says more is to follow.

"We are planning to hold a special one for the northern islands and there are individual groups affiliated to Niue that want to do the same thing."

The governor of American Samoa, Togiola Tulafono, says the damage caused by cyclone Heta nearly two weeks ago is in excess of 150 million US dollars.

Togiola says it is beyond the means of the territorial government to pay for the damage caused to the infrastructure.

He is not said whether he will ask the territorial assembly to appropriate money for the recovery efforts.