23 Feb 2005

US icebreaker with supplies, divers and military personnel heads to cyclone-battered Manu'as

11:11 am on 23 February 2005

An American Coast Guard ice breaker, the Polar Star, is now on its way to the cyclone battered Manu'a Islands in American Samoa.

It is carrying tonnes of supplies which the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, had flown in to Pago Pago on a chartered 747 jet.

Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer Tim Wilcox outlines the role the Coast Guard personnel will continue to have in the relief operation.

"FEMA does have CoastGuard personnel and army personnel. There's a small contingent of army folks here to help as well. The Coast Guard has done several overflights with C-130s, and I know that FEMA has contracted local divers to do an underwater survey. The Polar Star has a contingent of Coast Guard divers - and if they need to do a further review of the underwater survey, they can do that themselves."

Yesterday a Samoan Government vessel delivered materials to assist with the restoration of electricity supplies after cyclone Olaf last week wrecked 90 percent of Ta'u island's power infrastructure.