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Schools resume as Aitutaki recovers

Tuesday 23 February 2010 | Published in Regional

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The Aitutaki Cyclone Emergency Operations Centre yesterday issued this update on the relief effort:

Updates

• Schools are expected to begin classes this week.

• Red Cross continues with relief distribution.

• UNDAC Team departs Aitutaki for Rarotonga.

• Community Meetings held in light of new Tropical Depressions.

• Ship arrives with relief supplies and stock for Aitutaki.

• Rotation of staff (Power and Police) this week.

Emergency Shelter

Red Cross will continue today with the distribution of tarpaulins, relief supplies and tents, so far they have distributed over 600 tarps, 300 mosquito nets, first aid kits, family hygiene packs and over 40 tents.

Water

Red Cross has so far pumped and filtered over 20,000 litres of water since the start of the water treatment unit.

Members of the public are welcome to fill your water containers at the Red Cross Office at the Court House, Vaimaru.

Electricity

Electricity is being restored as a priority.

Members of public are asked NOT to touch any wires lying around as these may be live.

Coordination

The vessel Pacific Phoenix has arrived in Aitutaki and has aboard it relief items, building and maintenance materials, a bobcat, a truck and much needed supplies for shops on the island.

Community meetings

Due to tropical depressions developing up north, villages held a meeting last night (Sunday) to:

• Update villages on the progress of recovery and cleaning.

• The activities of the Safety Centres to house the people in the event that the Tropical Depression is reclassified into a Tropical Cyclone.

The response from villages to the meeting has been very favourable.

Volunteers

We are thankful for the assistance by the volunteers. We acknowledge the family members who have flown in to help rebuild their family homes here on Aitutaki.

NZDF

EOC has tasked the New Zealand Defence Force to now focus on the repairs to the schools.

NZDF will focus on two schools – Araura Primary and College as well as Vaitau Primary School. NZDF is also assisting Red Cross with works for the water storage at Vaimaru.

Education

Classes are expected to begin this week at both the College and the Primary Schools. Start has been deferred as we try and make urgent repairs to the schools and the schools may be used as Safety Centres due to the recent Tropical Depressions developing up north. All parents are encouraged to please send your children to school as education is very important.

UNDAC

The United National Disaster Coordination Team leaves Aitutaki today after 10 days on the island for Rarotonga.

The UN team was responsible for the coordination of assessment information, agency emergency response as well as emergency relief coordination between Raro, Aitutaki and the partner agencies. A UN Early Recovery Team has arrived into Rarotonga over the weekend and will be in Aitutaki this week to assist with recovery and rehabilitation efforts for the people and businesses of Aitutaki.

The departing UN Team wishes the people of Aitutaki the very best in the recovery and is very impressed with the spirit and resilience of the people of Aitutaki.

- Authorised by Charles Carlson, director of Emergency Management Cook Islands