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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, May 22) – Residents of the outlying atoll of Palmerston in the northern Cook Islands are sceptical the government will allocate any funding for a cyclone shelter for the island in the upcoming budget.

The island secretary, Tere Marsters, says Palmerston needs a US$460,000 facility which would act as a housing, medical and communications centre for its 70-odd residents.

Mr Marsters says the island has suffered five cyclones and residents have been waiting three years for a shelter.

"If they say well it’s within the next three years that does not give us peace of mind coming up into the next cyclone season. There needs to be some clear direction, if there’s not going to be a cyclone centre built, is there going to be an evacuation of the island, or what type of temporary measures can be put into place, and there’s been no indication of that so far."

Mr Marsters says Palmerson is competing for funding with residents of Pukapuka and Nassau, who also want cyclone shelters on their islands.

May 23, 2005

Radio New Zealand International:


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