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Culture, pride drive cyclone recovery in French territory

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, April 1, 2010) – In the wake of Cyclone Tomas, it's been three weeks of hard work for the inhabitants of Futuna.

Tomas destroyed 90 per cent of the French territory's traditional houses, more than half their public amenities and most of their crops.

The French Red Cross was quick to move into the worst-hit areas, bringing supplies and relief workers from New Caledonia.

However, a combination of pride and traditional values, has made many of Futuna's leaders and residents reluctant to accept the assistance from outside.

But as Bernadette Papilio-Halagahau head of the Department of Culture for Wallis and Futuna, says the people of Futuna began the big task of rebuilding - even before foreign help arrived.

"People in Futuna are very brave because I guess also because of historical experiences, they are used to those kinds of damages, they have started building already and of course the french military are also there."

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