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RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, Feb. 9) – High winds and rough seas brought by Cyclone Meena damaged the airport and commercial harbor on Mangaia, the southernmost of the Cook Islands.

According to the island secretary, Tuaine Tuara, the "harbor is now un-operational with an urgent need for repairs since the damage caused by Meena doubled Heta".

Tuara is hopeful that an assessment team will be sent to the island.

The inland roads were inaccessible due to fallen trees and Magaians.

"The main pipe from the water intake is broken and we have temporarily replaced it but it should not be for long when it should be properly replaced," Tuara said yesterday afternoon.

"Yesterday [Monday] we spent the day picking up stones and rocks that were thrown at least 50 to 60 meters into the airport. We managed to clear the area for Air Raro to land this morning. But that airport needs to be looked at fairly again because the main road from the airport was also damaged and authorities should be taking time to inspect it again. "

Meanwhile, on Rarotonga, Cook Islands Post manager Liz Tiro says some of the general delivery mail was washed away when their main building was flooded by sea surge generated by Meena on Sunday morning.

Tiro says precautions were taken, but unfortunately mail has still been lost, water soaked and damaged. She says mail from the lower boxes in the mailroom had been stacked on top of a table in the middle of the room to prevent it from getting wet in the event of flooding. However the flooding was so bad that it lifted the two front counters at the Post office and pushed them over, sending some mail and stationery into the water. She says a cabinet was also swept through to the mail room and sent the table with the local mail toppling over.

Yesterday staff were still cleaning up the office and started sorting through all the water-damaged mail.

February 11, 2005

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