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Words in the News
Monday 06 January 2003
Rescue efforts after Cyclone Zoe
People on Anuta Diplomats in the Solomon Islands have said the resilience of South Pacific islanders, battered by Cyclone Zoe, has saved hundreds of lives. The islands of Tikopia and Anuta were hit by gale-force winds and waves up to eleven metres high. There's still been no contact with Anuta but rescue teams have reported no major injuries on neighbouring Tikopia. From Honiara, Phil Mercer reports:
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This remote part of the South Pacific has found itself in the eye of some of the most fierce storms nature can generate. A diplomat at the New Zealand High Commission here, said the ability of the population of Tikopia to withstand Cyclone Zoe was the result of years of experience and a resilience built up over generations. It's almost certainly saved many lives.

The islanders took shelter in mountain caves to escape the onslaught. When the storm had passed they emerged to find most of their homes had disappeared, either buried under sand, or swept out into the ocean. Barely a tree was left standing, and crops were ripped from the ground. The fate of hundreds of people on the volcanic island of Anuta, however, is still unknown, most than eight days after the cyclone hit. A navy patrol boat is expected to set sail soon from Tikopia to assess the damage there. Despite their hardiness, these islanders will need much outside help to get back on their feet.

A second relief boat, the Isabella , has arrived on Tikopia, and with it the first major shipment of food, water and shelter. Aid agency workers on board have said all the supplies have been handed out to the fifteen hundred residents. A few minor injuries have been treated by Australian nurses, who've also made the long journey from Honiara.

The rescue teams are expected to stay in the region for at least another week. On their return, a long-term strategy to help these isolated communities get back to self-sufficiency will be considered. Officials from the country's national disaster council are to meet Australian, New Zealand and British diplomats to discuss a rescue package.

Phil Mercer, BBC, Honiara
Listen Listen to the words
if you withstand a great force you are not destroyed by it
the strength to recover quickly from a problem
took shelter
stayed there to be protected from bad weather
assess the damage
look at all the facts and work our what the main problems are
outside help
aid from other countries
the sending of cargo
minor injuries
damage done to people's bodies - here, not too serious
long-term strategy
a plan to decide what should be done over a long time
national disaster council
the organisation responsible for planning what should happen if a disaster hits the country
rescue package
measures which will help the country to recover
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