7 Mar 2005

UN observers on first boat departing for cyclone battered Tokelau

8:33 pm on 7 March 2005

The first consignment of emergency aid for the three cyclone devastated atolls of Tokelau is expected to leave Apia tomorrow after several days delay by high seas.

The atolls were extensively damaged by Cyclone Percy nine days ago.

The New Zealand based administrator, Neil Walter, says it is hoped the Samoa Express will be able to depart Apia tomorrow with food, shelter, medicine and generators.

Mr Walter says the ship will also carry a United Nations disaster assessment team.

"These people are independent outside experts and both Tokelau and New Zealand have welcomed their offer of doing an independent assessment of damage done and therefore Tokelau's needs specifically for the reconstruction and rehabilitation programme that we will be working on over the next two weeks."

Neil Walter says the delivery process will take up to a week.