Recovery process begins, but crops devastated and nearly half fishing fleet damaged

‘Oku lolotonga lele ngāue ‘a e pule’anga mo e ngaahi kautaha ‘ikai ‘a e pule’anga pehē ki he ngaahi kautaha tokoni mei muli ke fakama’a mo fakafoki e ngaahi sēvesi ki he kakai. Ko e ngaahi fāmili ‘e 205 ‘oku nau kei ‘i he ngaahi senitā kumi hūfanga pea mahino foki na’e maumau’i lahi e ngoue. ‘Oku kei lolotonga ngāue’aki pe tu’utu’uni ki he ngaahi fiema'u vivili 'o ka hoko ha fakatamaki ki he fonua pea ‘e lele ia ‘i ha ‘aho ‘e 30. Ko e maumau lahi ne hoko ki he ngoue tautefito ki he manioke. Na’e lahi e ngaahi tangikē vai ne maumau’i pea ‘oku mu’omu’a ai ki he ngaahi kautaha tokoni lahi ‘a e vai ke fakapapau'i 'oku ma'u pea 'i he tu'unga ma'a mo lelei ki he taha kotoa.

The Tongan government, NGOS and overseas aid donors are working to clean up and restore services, but 205 families are still in evacuation centres and the country’s agricultural sector has been severely hit.

A 30 day state of emergency is still in place.

Director of the National Emergency Management Office (NEMO), Leveni Aho, said the fisheries sector in Tongatapu and ‘Eua had been hit hard  by Cyclone Gita.

About 40% of fishing boats were damaged and fish fences were damaged by the heavy swells and winds.

Crop damage

Damage to crops has been widespread. Cassava was most affected. The mature tubers were affected by the wind and started rotting even though the rest of the plant was still intact.

Up to 80% of fruit trees were damaged.

Nearly 90% of banana trees were either uprooted or blown down.

The damages to fruit trees ranges from 70 to 80%

Up to 40% of coconuts around Tongatapu and Eua where either uprooted or blown down

The leaves of most taro plants were shredded in the cyclone, but the tubers are still edible.

Yams were the lease affected in all root crops.

NEMO said 85 schools had been affected, 29 of them with major damage.

As part of the recovery process 515 food packs had been distributed with the help of the Seventh Day Adventist church to elderly and vulnerable people.

Teams have sprayed nearly all of Tongatapu since the cyclone.

Water

The Ministry of Land Survey & Natural Resources has taken 120 samples  for testing for e-coli and the overall quality of drinking water, but there is an urgent  need for more water testing materials.

Many water tanks have been damaged and ensuring clean water supplies has been a priority for many agencies involved.

Caritas and the Tonga National Youth Congress had distributed water bottles to 124 households.

In Catholic parishes 20 litre water bottles have been distributed and water tanks installed.

Over the next two weeks 162 water tanks in five communities will be dosed with chlorine. Priority is being given to schools.

International aid

UNFPA and the New Zealand Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have supplied 2000 dignity kits, which will be distributed by the Reproductive Health nurses in health centres to women. A shipment of 80 boxes of dignity kits has been shipped to ‘Eua on the MV late.

The World Health Organisation sent medical and health kits to help eliminate mosquitoes and detect dengue fever.

UNICEF in Fiji is looking at supporting certain medical drugs supplies.

An RNZAF Hercules flew UNICEF supplies for the Ministry of Education to Tonga on Thursday.

The main points

  • The Tongan government, NGOS and overseas aid donors are working to clean up and restore services, but 205 families are still in evacuation centres and the country’s agricultural sector has been severely hit.
  • A 30 day state of emergency is still in place.
  • Damage to crops has been widespread, with cassava the most affected.
  • Many water tanks have been damaged and ensuring clean water supplies has been a priority for many agencies involved.

For more information

US pledges initial $200,000 pa’anga to help displaced families following cyclone Gita

New Zealand stands with a resilient Tonga following Cyclone Gita

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