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MELBOURNE, Australia (January 18, 2002 – Radio Australia)---Disaster agencies in Tonga and Vanuatu say overseas aid will be needed by the disaster-struck countries for a long time to come.

Tonga's northern islands, particularly the Vava‘u group, were hit hard by Cyclone Waka with winds up to 150 miles per hour on New Year's Day, and Vanuatu suffered two earthquakes just days later.

The head of Tonga's disaster agency, Malu Takai said there is gratitude for the initial help from Australia, New Zealand and other countries, but more aid is needed if they are to recover completely.

"The local warehouses are running out of building supplies and we are considering requesting assistance from skilled builders to help out with the rebuilding of schools," Mr. Takai said. "I think that is one of our top priorities at this point."

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

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