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Goff meets Tokelau Council to review cyclone aid

Hon Phil Goff Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

23 March 2005

Goff meets Tokelau Council to review cyclone aid

Foreign Minister Phil Goff was updated on Tokelau's relief and reconstruction needs in the wake of Cyclone Percy when he met the Ulu and Council for Ongoing government during his recent visit to Samoa.

"Tokelau is slowly recovering from the devastation caused by Cyclone Percy, which battered the atolls three weeks ago. It was the worst cyclone to have hit Tokelau in living memory, and it will take them some time to recover," Mr Goff said.

“The cyclone damaged sea walls and caused extensive erosion to shorelines, and damage to vegetation and the marine environment. Infrastructure and buildings have also been damaged, and school and medical equipment destroyed.

“New Zealand has allocated up to $500,000 in relief supplies for Tokelau, covering food, medicine, drinking water, building materials and equipment. The first shipment has been made, and a second is due to go in the next few weeks.

“The leaders expressed their appreciation for New Zealand’s generous and prompt response. Cyclones can impact severely on small Pacific island countries but Tokelau has shown a resilience and character that will see it through the recovery period."

Mr Goff met with the Ulu and Council late last year for talks on Tokelau’s move to self-government in free association with New Zealand. Despite the hardship caused by the cyclone, discussions on the proposed treaty of free association are continuing.

The Tokelauan community in New Zealand has launched its own cyclone appeal. All funds will be sent to the villages and will be separate from the national recovery effort. Donations can be made at any branch of the BNZ.

The three atolls of Tokelau, Atafu, Fakaofo and Nukunonu are home to 1600 people. They lie 500 kilometres north of Samoa and are separated by up to 100 kilometres of ocean. Each atoll comprises pieces of land no more than 200 metres wide and up to just five metres above sea level.

ENDS

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