Cook Islands evaluates cyclone response

from Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Published on 03 Jun 2010 View Original
Emergency management authorities in the Cook Islands have conceded they could have been more prepared for damaging Tropical Cyclone Pat earlier this year.

At the time, the prime minister declared a state of disaster for Aitutaki and Rarotonga when the cyclone hit, in early February.

About 90 per cent of houses on Aitutaki were severely damaged and phones, roads, electricity and air transport were all disrupted - but there were no fatalities.

A three-day conference is being held in Rarotonga, hosted by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and it's assessing the response to the cyclone.

The Director of Emergency Management Cook Islands, Charles Carlson, says the key issue is there must be an official process, during an emergency.

"One of the messages we are trying to get across is that during a disaster we go through the phase of response and followed by recovery and reconstruction but it doesn't stop there ... we then have to get back into prevention and medication and preparedness."

Australian Broadcasting Corporation: