Nine still missing after Fiji cyclone

Disaster officials in Fiji say they are still searching for nine people missing since Tuesday when Cyclone Ami swept across the Pacific island nation.

Police have confirmed that 10 people are dead, after four bodies were recovered yesterday in Labasa on Fiji's second largest island Vanua Levu.

The National Disaster Management Committee (DISMAC) says continuing communications problems are hampering the damage assessment and casualty reports are confused.

The committee says no decision can be made about relief efforts until a report is received from field officials.

The Fiji Government will convene an urgent Cabinet meeting today to decide on relief assistance for those affected.

Meanwhile the wife of Fiji Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase, has urged Fijians to contribute to an appeal for the victims of Cyclone Ami.

Donations have already been received from the Australian and British High Commissions, the French embassy, hotels and individuals.

Leba Qarase launched the appeal on Fiji's national broadcaster, Radio Fiji, which raised almost $A80,000 within the first two hours.

"It's times like this also that we as a nation must come together as one nation and help our brothers and sisters, and most importantly the children and mothers, to overcome their difficulties," she said.

"This is a noble gesture and I call on the people to come forward and donate generously towards this worthy cause."


Australian Broadcasting Corporation