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Cyclone Ami ACFOA Update 16 Jan 2003

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A Fijian assessment team conducted an aerial assessment of all areas affected by Ami on a PC Orion supplied by New Zealand on Wednesday 15 January 2003.
The flight reported that impact of Cyclone Ami was less than expected, with most major infrastructure, roads and airstrips intact.

Greatest damage was observed in Northern and Eastern Vanua Levu and Cicia and Vanuavatu Islands in the Lau Group with reports of flooding, crop and vegetation damage and damage to residential property.

Vanua Levu is now accessible by plane, the Fijian Government dispatched a naval patrol boat at 2:00am (AEDT) this morning to the worst affected Islands in the Lau Group with a medical team and emergency relief supplies (temporary shelter, medical supplies, food and water).

Two other Naval Patrol boats are on standby awaiting instruction from the Fiji Disaster Management Committee (DISMAC).

The photographic and video images from the aerial sureillance will be assessed today (16 January 2003) to assist DISMAC to effectively coordinate its relief efforts.

Communication has been restored to many affected areas and Air Fiji is now operating flights to Vanua Levu and Taveuni Islands. Fijian authorities have dispatched field assessment teams on Vanua Levi.

DISMAC are awaiting the outcome of aerial and field assessments before requesting further assistance from donors.

Australia has approved $25 000 for the deployment of a helicopter for two days.

Discussions with Fiji's NDMO and Fiji Red Cross agree basic items such as Blankets, Tarpaulins and Water Containers are the most useful items likely to be required.

Tonga

Cyclone Ami also passed south of the Kingdom of Tonga on Tuesday 14 January 2003. Tonga escaped relatively unscathed from the storm with reports of minor damage and no injuries or fatalities.