PUKAPUKA STILL WITHOUT ROOFS A YEAR AFTER STORM

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Helen Greig

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, April 24) – A team including the minister responsible for the outer islands, Teina Bishop, is very concerned that repairs and reproofing of houses on Pukapuka in the northern Cook Islands have taken far too long.

OMIA chief executive Otheniel Tangianau, energy planner Tangi Tereapii and environment service operations manager Vavia Tangatataia accompanied Bishop to the island two weeks ago.

[PIR editor’s note: Pukapuka and neighboring Nassau island were devastated by Cyclone Percy last February.]

Tangianau says the main purpose of the visit was to check on cyclone recovery work to houses on Pukapuka, and what work remains to be completed.

He says there has been concern that the repairs and reroofing of houses have taken too long.

They also met with the mayor Tere Mataio and the island council to brief them on the mayoral forum held earlier this year.

Tangianau says they discussed several issues with the council including shipping, the request for a power station and a new island government bill.

He says the council is pushing for government to build a diesel operated power station to replace the somewhat run down solar power system. Tangianau says the solar power was said to be inconvenient for the islanders and can be expensive when they have to buy special appliances to hook up to the system.

Tereapii conducted a survey of solar systems and whether the locals want to keep the system. He says that report will go to Bishop.

Tereapii says the solar power system gives each household 24 hours a day power. Each house has eight 47 watt panels to draw power from. The island council also want a new cyclone centre built on the island.

While there, Tangianau also conducted a survey of the island’s water tanks and says with over 60 tanks they don’t have a water supply problem.

Tangianau says there is still some cyclone recovery work to be completed with some houses requiring extra structural strengthening to better weather any future cyclones. He says once repair work is completed they may visit the island again to assess their situation.

April 28, 2006

Cook Islands News: http://www.cinews.co.ck/index.htm

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