RELIEF SUPPLIES FOR STORM RAVAGED SWAINS ISLAND DELAYED

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PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (January 7, 1997 - Samoa News)---Relief supplies for storm ravaged Swains Island in American Samoa will have to wait until the weather improves.

The small low-lying atoll, south of the New Zealand territory of Tokelau, was hit with winds of 90 miles per hour from Tropical Storm Ron, later upgraded to Hurricane Ron, late Friday afternoon.

Ron flattened all the Polynesian fales on Swains except for the government school and dispensary building. No injuries or deaths were reported.

Local authorities say rough seas heading into Swains Island continue to prevent emergency crews with relief supplies from sailing to the remote atoll of 49 people, which is privately owned but one of the U.S. South Pacific Territory of American Samoa’s seven main islands.

At one time, Swains Island was claimed by Tokelau.

The American Samoa government plans to charter a Twin Otter flight for an aerial view of the island on Thursday.

In the meantime, local authorities, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Honolulu are gathering essential relief supplies with plans for a Hawaii based military C-130 aircraft to air drop the cargo later this week.

Swains Island, with no telephone communication or airport, can be contacted only by marine radio or boat.

Stories from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to .

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