MANIHIKI RESIDENTS AT ODDS WITH GOVERNMENT OVER CYCLONE MARTIN

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REBUILDING

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (November 11, 1997 - Radio Australia/ PACNEWS)--- The Cook Islands government and the residents of cyclone ravaged Manihiki atoll are at odds over where to rebuild the villages destroyed by Cyclone Martin.

The villagers say they want to rebuild on their original home sites, but Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Henry wants the villages located to safer areas.

After a weekend tour of Manihiki, Sir Geoffrey said a futuristic town-planning approach should be adopted in rebuilding the atoll's facilities and accommodations.

International aid donors would be more sympathetic about donating support, he noted, if buildings are constructed on sites less prone to cyclones.

Seven people died and 12 are still missing, almost two week's after Cyclone Martin hit the northern Cook Islands, inundating Manihiki and damaging the neighboring atolls of Rakahanga, Pukapuka, and Nassau.

The full extent of damage to Manihiki's black pearl farms has not yet been determined.

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