16 Mar 2010

French military sends supplies to cyclone-hit Wallis and Futuna

11:26 am on 16 March 2010

The French military is sending two transport planes to Wallis and then Futuna to deliver supplies after Cyclone Tomas hit the territory over the weekend.

The Casa planes are about to fly from their base in New Caledonia, carrying tarpaulins, chainsaws, generators and some building materials.

The planes are to bring in 26 experts to help with the reconstruction.

The French territory suffered extensive damage to houses as it was struck by wind gusts of up to 200 kilometres an hour in what was its first cyclone in a decade.

The storm damaged roads, cut electricity and brought down the telephone network, which the authorities fear will take a long time to repair.

The authorities say despite the destruction at Futuna's airport, the runway can be used for today's relief flight.