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Saturday 13 February 2010 | Published in Regional


Red Cross volunteers, led by Charlie Numanga, were out in numbers on Thursday meeting with households on Aitutaki to gauge their immediate needs.

Numanga told Cook Islands News that their main focus was to ensure that people had the basic needs of shelter, food and water.

Numanga said they were making sure that people who lost their homes or roofs to their homes had places to stay be it at community halls or bunking with neighbours.

“But some people feel more comfortable staying on their own property even though their homes are no longer standing,” said Numanga.

“So we need to make sure that these people get equipment such as tarpaulins or tents.”

He added that “there’s not much I can do for these people who’ve completely lost their homes but we can provide temporary shelter until the rebuilding phase kicks in”.

Red Cross volunteers were also making sure the people had cooking utensils and that all members of the household were accounted for.

While visiting families on the island, Numanga has had to motivate people to start rebuilding their homes by using old materials or those that they found lying around on their property.

Immediate emergency reports will give the authorities a better understanding of the urgent needs of the people plus it will also serve as a guideline for the rebuilding stage of the cyclone recovery process.

Families and businesses on Rarotonga can help the people of Aitutaki by sending over materials such as hammers, nails, saws, cooking utensils, tarpaulins, candles and dry foods to help the island recover from the devastation left by cyclone Pat.