As of yesterday, 72 measles deaths had been reported and infection numbers had hit 5000. Most of the dead are children aged four or under.
In Parliament, Prime Minister Henry Puna paid a moving tribute to the victims, the people and the government of Samoa.
His government had decided to hold a fundraising appeal to assist Samoa in its battle against measles, he said.
They were contributing $50,000 and would hold a radiothon tomorrow, on Friday, giving regular people an opportunity to donate.
Puna also announced a national prayer would be held at the National Auditorium on the same day “to seek God’s mercy, healing and comfort for the people of Samoa”. The prayer is scheduled to start at 10am.
“To lose so many people especially children is a tragedy which beggars belief,” Puna said.
“The thoughts of the people and government of Cook Islands are with the people and government of Samoa at this very difficult time. Let us turn our hearts and mind now on how we can help.”
Puna also praised the effort from Ministry of Health in ensuring a majority of Cook Islanders have been vaccinated against measles.