CYCLONE DAMAGE SLIGHT ON ANUTA

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Radio Australia, Jan. 8) - Disaster management and health officials in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are continuing to monitor the impact of Cyclone Zoe, which passed through the region last week.

On Tuesday morning relief supply boats traveled from the island of Tikopia to neighboring Anuta in the Solomon Islands Temotu province to check on the welfare of 600 inhabitants.

The patrol boat had moved on to Anuta after leaving relief supplies on the island of Tikopia, together with the supply vessel Isabella. And they confirm that there are no casualties on Anuta, or damage to housing.

Rosalie Nongabatu of the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC) said the assessment team that had been sent down by the National Disaster Management Office has completed its assessment of Anuta Island.

"The immediate need was mosquito nets, fittings of pipings for the water supply - although the water supply source is still intact," said Nongabatu.

"The damage there is done by the cyclone is not as bad as what it did to Tikopia. No houses were damaged, so the cyclone just blew down the trees."

According to Nongabati, there has been no report of casualties in Anuta.

"No casualties at all and no houses have been damaged. The medical team there, they attended to 39 patients this morning and they immunized 12 children as well."

"At the same time, they've also re-installed a high frequency two way radio at the only primary school on Anuta island, with the help of officers onboard the MV patrol boat Auki."

Last week's cyclone also passed near the northern islands of neighboring Vanuatu.

Over the weekend, officials from Vanuatu's National Disaster Management Organization used a French helicopter to fly over islands in Torba Province, which covers the Torres and Banks Islands in the north of the country.

Job Esau, director of the National Disaster Management Organization says the cyclone had little impact on the island.

"Yeah, the situation from our observation when we flew over the northern islands of Vanuatu…the Banks…we particularly went to visit Sola, which is the provincial headquarters, and from there we flew to Mere Lava which is one of the islands that we are much more concerned about, as it was one of the isolated islands] and it was affected by the earthquake and landslide before the cyclone."

"So we thought the cyclone might have additional impact on the community that is why we had to conduct aerial reconnaissance."

"Our findings on the impact of the cyclone itself…we received reports from the Torba provincial headquarters itself. There were very minor damage to other small islands in the northern islands and only the Torba province received the higher sea levels that causes much destruction to some of the bungalows at Sola, the Torba provincial headquarters."

"There were no reports of casualties. Everybody listens to our community and national warnings and they evacuated the whole community from the Torba provincial headquarters to safe shelters before the sea actually came over to destroy some of those bungalows," said Esau.

"There is no damage to food crops. Crops are still OK because the cyclone was in the sea. It was not actually hitting the land itself."

January 8, 2003

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

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