17 Mar 2010

Aid heading to remote Fiji islands following cyclone Tomas

7:33 am on 17 March 2010

The Red Cross says it will deliver aid to the cyclone-affected Lau and Lomaiviti island groups in Fiji today, with the help of the country's navy.

It says people there have endured a horrific ordeal with Cyclone Tomas, which has destroyed at least fifty buildings and is reported to have claimed some lives.

The director general of the Fiji Red Cross, Alison Cupid, says a naval ship will collect supplies from Vanua Levu this morning, before heading to the island of Cikobia, where it's thought aid is needed desperately.

"There's been no contact made with Cikobia yet. It's an island north of Vanua Levu and its got some 300 to 400 people on it. The Red Cross is sending personnel with that ship."

Alison Cupid from the Fiji Red Cross.

Forecasters believe Cyclone Tomas will dissipate as it continues to move away from Fiji.

A former deputy prime minister of Fiji says international help will be needed in the aftermath of Cyclone Tomas.

Tupeni Baba says the government will have difficulty reaching some of the worst affected islands in the Lau and Lomaiviti island groups, where storm surges have washed away buildings and crops.

Dr Baba says a lot of damage has been done.

The churches and even one medical centre has been washed away, houses have been washed away and sustained flooding of the village itself and the shoreline, the planting area, a major ruin to root crops.

A former deputy prime minister of Fiji, Tupeni Baba.