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Pacific Beat Home | Broadcast Times Updated March 23, 2010 07:57:09
Fiji's Ministry of Health is assessing the needs of people and tallying up the damage bill for medical facilities after Cyclone Tomas swept through the north and east. There are also reports that the island of Rabi has been totally devastated.
Presenter: Sam Seke
Speaker: Iliesa Tora, Health Ministry spokesman
TORA: We are still trying to ascertain the reports from Rabi. We had teams go up to Rabi over the weekend. Us, we're basically just waiting for them to come back and report to us on what has transpired in Rabi during the cyclone.
SEKE: So there has never been any sort of assessment of any damage on Rabi yet?
TORA: We haven't received the reports yet. Our teams are out there. Actually at the moment, they were up in Thikombia and they were going down to Rabi also to assess the situation there.
SEKE: Now can you describe to us what you heard about the destruction to medical facilities in the places where there's been cyclone devastation?
TORA: Well, the initial reports actually say that because of the cyclone, they're telling us that some of the nurse's and doctor's quarters were damaged partly from trees that had fallen on them. Some of the clinics were also damaged on the islands in Lau, and since we've had our initial assessment over the past two days we have now gotten the real facts about what has happened. I think for Lau the worst affected is our health centre on Ongea Lau, the furthest island towards Tonga among the Fiji islands, and our estimated cost there is between 300 to 400,000 for just the clinics and the cottages themselves. We're hoping to receive more reports later today and tomorrow as our teams arrive back in Suva from the islands to update us on the real estimates and the real damage on the ground.
SEKE: And as we speak, what kind of assistance has reached the affected areas by way of medical supplies and some of the services?
TORA: Basically I think two days after the cyclone passed we were able to start providing healthcare services, medical services from the affected areas but temporarily as some of our facilities were damaged. But since then we've been able to beef up medical supplies, we've sent our medical supplies over the last weekend on two government vessels and the naval boats that have been going. We've had some military flights through to some of the islands with medical supplies also sent through. We are monitoring on a daily basis. We will keep track of what is needed where and get those supplies to them urgently. As far as infrastructure is concerned we have the army engineers on standby to help us out in rebuilding our health facilities in the islands.