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NZ gives $200k to cyclone-hit Cooks

Published: 12:44PM Saturday February 13, 2010 Source: ONE News

The government is giving $200,000 to relief and recovery operations in the Cook Islands, following the devastation caused by Cyclone Pat.

The storm tore through Aitutaki on Thursday, causing widespread damage. There were no deaths.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully says the money is an initial donation.

"Today's funding is a first step, and the New Zealand government will continue to work with authorities in the Cook Islands to decide how we can best support ongoing recovery efforts on Aitutaki," McCully says.

"Thankfully, there are no reported deaths or serious injuries in Aitutaki, although there has been widespread destruction, with early estimates suggesting that up to 90% of buildings have sustained damage.

New Zealand's support will be channelled through the Cook Islands Red Cross, and will be used to respond to direct requests for supplies and assistance from the Cook Islands Government.