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AVARUA, Rarotonga, Cook Islands (August 4, 1999 – Radio Australia)---The Cook Islands government has appealed to Australia and New Zealand for drought relief on the northern islands of Manihiki and Penrhyn.

Disaster relief officials say the drought is so severe they have been forced to trigger the United Nations Disaster Coordination System.

They have asked that any Australian or New Zealand ships in the area with desalination equipment on board, stop at the islands to help process fresh water.

The Director of the Cooks Islands Disaster Management Authority, Anthony Brown, said the situation on Penrhyn is particularly critical.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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