Reliefs reach remote areas as more aid roll in

Authorities in Tonga said the relief efforts from both the international and local communities already in place have arrived at areas outside Haapai's main island of Lifuka that severely hit by Cyclone Ian.

New Zealand and the French governments have announced today they have given Tonga further assistance to help it recover from the cyclone.

Australia and China likewise have pledeged aid reliefs.

The category five Cyclone Ian  smashed into six islands including Lifuka, Foa, Ha’ano, Mo’unga’one, ‘Uiha and Lofanga in the weekend.

UN report confirmed there has been extensive damage to housing in the affected areas with nearly 100 percent of the housing affected, ranging from severe destruction to light damage.

Correspondent Vilisoni Tu’iniua was in Ha’apai while the aid was distributed.

“It has reached Kauvai Ha’ano (Ha’ano, Fakakai, Pukotala, Muitoa) and the island of Mo’unga’one as well as ‘Uiha. The aid was given to the town officers and church leaders for them to distribute to the villagers. The aid for Lifuka was delivered by trucks and for the other islands distributions were taken by dinghies," Tu’iniua said adding, “the kainga were so happy”.

More aid

John Key’s government supplied 300 emergency shelter kits, which can provide interim shelter to over 2000 people, and assist the New Zealand and Tongan Red Cross with the provision of clean water.

New Zealand will also make a further $300,000 available to New Zealand non-government organisations working with partners on the ground, New Zealand Foreign Minister Hon Murry McCully announced today.

A New Zealand Defence Force C-130 delivered the relief supplies to Tonga this afternoon.

Today’s announcement brings New Zealand’s support to Tonga since Tropical Cyclone Ian struck last week to $500,000.

The Republic of France, the Government of New Caledonia and  its Congress, and the French Red Cross have also provided relief aid to Tonga.

A military aircraft, CASA, departed New Caledonia today 17 January to deliver the assistance.

CASA will take a disaster evaluation team that consists a military doctor and specialists (logistics, maintenances, upload cargo), a statement says.

Australia also gave Tonga an initial US$45,000 in emergency supplies following the cyclone.

Queensland Government of Australia in particular will donate AUS$50,000 to help Tonga in the re-building effort.

Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs Glen Elmes has announced the donation yesterday – which matches the Australian Government donation – when attending a Tongan prayer service for cyclone victims yesterday at Redcliffe, one of two areas in Brisbane where there is a significant Tongan population. The other is Logan.

“The emergency assistance recognises the severe destruction caused by the storm on housing, infrastructure and vegetation, and the need to rebuild as soon as possible as part of the recovery process,” Mr Elmes said. 

“We have strong links to Tonga, with around 1,600 Queenslanders born in Tonga, and more than 5,000 having Tongan ancestry”.

The Chinese government donated emergency supplies valued at TOP $10,000 pa’anga including drinking water, food and 400 tents.

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