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State of disaster declared

Thursday 11 February 2010 | Published in Regional


The prime minister Jim Marurai declared a state of disaster in Aitutaki after the island was battered by tropical cyclone Pat.

The declaration was made after the PM met yesterday morning with cabinet, the director for Emergency Management Cook Islands and the police commissioner Maara Tetava.

A public announcement was made by Marurai on Radio Cook Islands just before midday yesterday.

“I am satisfied that a declaration for a state of disaster is required for the best interest of the people of Aitutaki. I now call upon all responding agencies and the community for their support and cooperation during this time of a disaster,” said Marurai.

A state of emergency was also declared for Rarotonga by the prime minister.

“A declaration for a state of emergency is required to ensure the safety of our people in Rarotonga. I now call upon all responding agencies and the community to prepare for this emergency.”

Just after the meeting EMCI director Charles Carlson put out an email which stated the following:

“The good news is TC Pat has passed Aitutaki, the bad news is TC Pat is heading towards Rarotonga. The prediction is that TC is expected to hit Rarotonga about 2pm today. So please let’s all be prepared and take good care out there.”

After a query from one person on the mailing list who questioned the accuracy of information being disseminated, it prompted met service director Arona Ngari to clarify the situation through an email just after 1pm.

“The comments by EMCI are supposed to state that Rarotonga will be feeling gale force winds as of 2pm this afternoon based on the predicted path. TC Pat is still expected to pass 150 miles to the northwest of Rarotonga thus giving gale force winds for Rarotonga. If the system takes a more southerly direction, then the winds will be stronger. The threat at this stage is still for Rarotonga.”