WELLINGTON, Mar 2, 2005 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- The Pacific Island Forum (PIF) is to provide 60,000 Fiji dollars (about 36,000 US dollars) this week through the Regional Natural Disaster Relief Fund to assist Cook Islands following recent cyclones.
"The Forum regrets the damage and suffering caused by the four cyclones and hopes this contribution will assist with recovery efforts in the Cook Islands," Acting Forum Secretary General, Iosefa Maiava, said in a statement reaching here from Fiji Wednesday.
The Regional Natural Disaster Relief Fund is administered by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat based in Suva, Fiji.
According to Maiava, the Fund provides early assistance of 20, 000 Fiji dollars on request, however, the higher amount for the Cook Islands follows damage from three separate cyclones in two weeks -- Meena, Nancy and Olaf.
This week, a fourth cyclone, Percy, struck parts of the country, causing extensive damage.
The Cook Islands, with a population of about 19,000, consist of 15 islands scattered over some 2 million square kilometers of the Pacific Ocean.
The Regional Natural Disaster Relief Fund was established in 1975 by Forum Island Countries. They include the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.