Tokelau's agriculture badly hit by cyclones, UN assessment team says
United Nations emergency assessment teams have found that agriculture has been badly damaged in Tokelau by tropical cyclones in the south Pacific, while the islands of Mauke and Atiu in the Cook Islands chain are not in a state of emergency, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today.
Tokelau's three atolls lost most of their staple crops, especially the coconut crop, used for food and drink, the swamp taro, banana and pawpaw or papaya, while most of the fish habitats were destroyed.
The islands suffered beach erosion and many live coral formations were covered by sand and debris, it added.
Fakaofo and Atafu atolls had been cleared of debris, but worst-hit Nukunonu still needed much work.
Meanwhile, volunteers were on their way to the Cook Island of Pukapuka for the clean-up there. A Government patrol boat has been designated to service the sea passage between Pukapuka and neighbouring Nassau.
From 6 February to 6 March the Cook Islands were battered by five tropical cyclones, but no casualties have been reported.