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NZ Catholics likely to help cyclone-devastated Niue

The Catholic Church in New Zealand expects to provide food and help to repair buildings in response to the devastation caused by Cyclone Heta in Niue early last month.

Caritas Tonga and members of the Niue Catholic Council are co-ordinating help, according to a report prepared for NZ Catholic by Caritas Tonga, on behalf of the Bishop of Tonga and Niue, Bishop Soane Lilo Foliaki.

NZ Catholic reports that fundraising has been arranged in Tonga, New Zealand and in the Cook Islands. Oceania members of Caritas are helping with relief activities.

The diocesan centre and Caritas are in frequent touch with Catholic leaders in Niue and visits have been made from Tonga to assess how the diocese can best help. It now looks likely that the Church will provide food, help repair Church buildings and provide catering equipment.

The diocese may also organise a program advocating more effective measures be taken to resist disasters and support sustainable development.

The parish of Niue is at north Alofi, where the uncompleted church hall was destroyed. This hall had been due to be opened this month.

About $A19,200 had been spent on materials for the hall, with the people providing the labour. The replacement cost is estimated to be about $A34,040, with the total estimated cost of damage to all the Catholic Church buildings more than $A53,250.

The church also lost part of its roof and the presbytery plumbing was damaged, as was the solar heater on the sisters' house.

Church is likely to help Niue (NZ Catholic 8-21/2/04)

Caritas Aotearoa NZ: Cyclone Heta
Caritas Australia February 2004 Update on Niue
Cyclone Heta shatters Niueans (One News 9/1/04)

10 Feb 2004