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Relief really appreciated

Saturday 20 February 2010 | Published in Regional

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“Aitutaki residents are so appreciative of the relief effort,” says Niki Rattle, secretary general of Cook Islands Red Cross, who is currently staying on the island.

“After all that has happened, it is fantastic to see people smiling. Having accommodation that is secure from the rain has really helped to alleviate some of the stress of the past few days.”

Around 600 tarpaulins have been distributed by Red Cross teams in Aitutaki and many homes which were only partly damaged have now been protected against the rain.

Red Cross teams are also putting up tents to assist those who can no longer occupy their homes.

Teams are going to continue distribution of tarpaulins today.

The next phase will be helping to distribute tarpaulins to secure churches from the weather ahead of the services on Sunday.

Relief distribution is now well underway.

Around 200 emergency kits, containing essential supplies, have been distributed, as well as more than 200 mosquito nets.

Hygiene kits, which contain essential items such as soap and laundry powder, are being distributed.

More relief goods, including food, cooking sets and containers for transporting water, are on the way and should arrive later today.

A psychological support team is now working in the community.

Many families have had a traumatic time.

“During the cyclone, some families had to use beds or mattresses to protect themselves against flying debris and falling trees. At its height, the cyclone was very noisy.”

Rattle can’t say enough of the commitment of the relief team, who are working from early morning until late in the evening to support the community.

“While the situation remains difficult, Aitutaki residents are aware that people in the Cook Islands and overseas care and are helping make a difference.”

- Red Cross