Cook Islands

Cyclone Olaf update - 28 Feb 2005

Latest information from the Pacific is that Cyclone Percy, a strong Category 3 storm, has caused widespread damage to Tokelau after hitting the island group on Saturday 26 February.

Food crops have been damaged and the only school on the atoll of Nokonunu has been largely destroyed. Communications and power have been affected but initial reports indicate that the water supply on the atolls has been unaffected. There have been no reports of death and only one report of serious injury in Tokelau.

Cyclone Percy also hit Swain Island in American Samoa and is threatening the northern Cook islands of Pukapuka and Nassau. Communities on these islands and others in the cyclone's path are on alert and taking necessary precautions. Australia will work closely with New Zealand to assist with any recovery operations in Tokelau, and stands ready to help other countries affected by this latest cyclone.

Australian Cyclone Assistance To Cook Islands

Australia has provided a contribution of $100,000 to assist with the recovery process in the southern Cooks, after the country was hit by three cyclones (Meena, Nancy and Olaf) in as many weeks. Cyclone Percy is now threatening the northern Cooks.

Cyclone Olaf, which hit the Cook Islands late on 18 February 2005, caused substantial damage to property and telecommunications mainly on the west coast of Rarotonga.

Australia provided an initial contribution of $30,000 to assist with recovery efforts, while Franz partners France and New Zealand sent specialist teams to Rarotonga to assist with clean-up operations and to restore power lines and telecommunication services.

Australian assistance will help transport supplies to remote outer islands and assist with clean-up of cyclone debris.

Australia's cyclone aid to Cook Islands will be managed by NZAID, the overseas aid agency of the New Zealand Government. Since July 2004, NZAID has managed parts of Australia's development assistance to Cook Islands under a tripartite harmonisation agreement.

Samoa missed a direct hit from Cyclone Olaf and damage was largely limited to crop damage, power lines and fallen trees.

Under the Franz Agreement, France, Australia and New Zealand provide a coordinated response to natural disasters in the Pacific.