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Aid on way for Tokelau

28 February 2005

Aid on way for Tokelau

New Zealand-funded relief supplies will be shipped to cyclone-hit Tokelau from Samoa as soon as they can be purchased and loaded, Aid Minister Marian Hobbs said today.

"The three atolls of Tokelau were hit hard by Cyclone Percy over the weekend," Marian Hobbs said. "Damage is still being assessed but we know that much of Nukunonu was under water at one stage, and buildings and crops have been affected.

"We can only be thankful that at this stage there has been no suggestion of any deaths or serious injuries.

"The New Zealand Government has already approved the spending of up to half a million dollars on relief supplies and these are being sourced in Apia at the moment. We understand the main needs are for food, tarpaulins and medical supplies to top up those already in Tokelau, and the restoration of essential services. Funding will be provided through the government's international development agency, NZAID.

"The supplies will be shipped on the Samoa Express just as soon as we can get it underway. Of course we would fly them in if we could, but there are no airfields on any of the Tokelau atolls."

Meanwhile the Tokelauan community in New Zealand is launching its own appeal to assist with cyclone recovery. All funds received will be sent to villages and will be separate from the national recovery effort. Donations to the Tokelau Relief Fund are welcome at any branch of the BNZ, account number 02-0500 0705912-00.

Tokelau, which lies about 500km north of Samoa, is home to about 1600 people. The three low-lying atolls are separated by up to 100 kilometres of open water. The islands are New Zealand's last remaining overseas territory, but are moving towards greater self-governance.


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