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Partner Churches battered by cyclones

Last Thursday a state of disaster was declared on the island of Aitutaki in the Cook Islands after it was struck by Tropical Cyclone Pat.

The cyclone cut power and phone lines on the small resort island and ripped off roofs.

Reports indicate in some villages 90 per cent of homes were damaged but there was no loss of life.

On Monday, Cyclone Rene hit Tonga with powerful winds ripping off roofs, tearing down trees and downing power lines in the South Pacific island nation.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or severe damage, but the central islands group of Ha’apai faced destructive hurricane force winds with gusts of 228km an hour.

Heavy rain, thunderstorms, sea swells and flooding accompanied the cyclone.

In the northern Vavau islands group Rene caused coastal flooding as wild seas surged ashore.

UnitingWorld Associate Director Church Solidarity Pacific Mr Bruce Mullan has contacted the General Secretaries of the Cook Island Christian Church and the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga to express the concern and care for the Uniting Church Partner Churches in both island nations.

The agreement signed between the Uniting Church in Australia and the Cook Islands Christian Church in July 2000 said, “We stand alongside each other under all circumstances”.

“During the circumstances they are facing this week the Uniting Church is standing with our partner churches in solidarity and Christian friendship,” Mr Mullan said.

UnitingWorld has asked congregations and church members to pray for the Cook Islands and Tonga.