Australia announces further aid for Samoa rebuildTuesday February 12, 2013 - 21:15 EDT
Australia's Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, has announced a further $AUD7 million to fund recovery projects in areas of Samoa damaged by Cyclone Evan last December.
Senator Carr met with the Samoan Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa'ilele, on the country's main island of Upolu for an update on recovery efforts.
Senator Carr says the funding is intended to repair or rebuild 18 schools and nine health clinics destroyed by the cyclone.
"Rebuilding these facilities will enable more than 5,300 students to continue their studies and more than 25,000 people to access health care in the coming months," he said.
The funding will go towards training those in areas worst affected by the disaster so they are able to rebuild their communities and gain new employment.
It comes on top of the $1.65 million of emergency supplies the Australian government provided after the disaster..
Cyclone Evan affected more than 12,700 people, killing four people and destroying 250 homes.
Concern over Fiji elections
Senator Carr was in Samoa as part of a four day tour of the Pacific that includes Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Vanuatu.
He says there's a consensus among Pacific leaders that Fiji's pledge to return to democracy in 2014 may not be genuine.
Senator Carr has told Radio Australia the return to democracy in Fiji is important to the entire Pacific region.
"The rules around the election should provide guarantees of its fairness, its transparency, so that ... even the losing candidates in that election would attest to it having been fair," he said.
© ABC 2013
More breaking news
The Top End of the Northern Territory is having one of its hottest May's on record, which is causing issues for a number of mango plantations.
Whilst it may just be beginning to feel like winter across the southern capitals, it sure feels like the tail-end of summer in Darwin.
Eight areas across New South Wales experienced record-breaking cold weather overnight, but the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) says the state is still set for a relatively warm winter.