Caritas, Habitat for Humanity working on housing project in wake of Cyclone Gita

‘Oku fengāue'aki ‘a e kautaha Katolika ko e Caritas mo ha kautaha mei ‘Amelika ko e Habitat for Humanity ke langa ha ngaahi fale ‘i Tonga ke ne fetongi e ngaahi fale ne maumau’i ‘e Kita’. ‘Oku nau fengāue’aki mo e pule’anga Tonga’ he polōseki ko ‘eni’. ‘Oku fakafuofua ko e fale kotoa ‘e 4500 ne maumau’i he matangi ko Kita’. ‘Oku tāketi e ongo kautaha’ ni ke langa e fale ‘e 500. ‘Oku lolotonga lele ha kemipeini ‘i Nu’u Sila ke tānaki ha pa’anga $1 miliona ke fakapa’anga’aki ‘a e polōseki’ ni.

Catholic NGO Caritas and the American-based organisation Habitat for Humanity are working together to build new homes in Tonga to replace homes destroyed  by Cyclone Gita.

The NGOs are working with the Tongan government on the project.

Amelia Ma’afu, Acting Director of Caritas Tonga, said cyclone resistant family houses built in 2016-2017 through a Caritas Tonga/Habitat for Humanity housing programme came through Cyclone Gita with hardly any damage.

A total of eight one bedroom wooden houses were built as a pilot project in a few weeks from materials shipped in by Habitat for Humanity by people who had lost their homes and volunteers.

Cyclone Gita struck Tonga on the night of 12-13 February, destroying more than 4500 houses.

Tonga staff and volunteers, working closely with the Tongan National Youth Council, distributed tarpaulins, water, hygiene and kitchen sets, in the days immediately following the cyclone.

It is now concentrating on helping people rebuild homes and provide psychosocial support.

The rebuilding project with Habitat for Humanity aims to rebuild 500 homes.

A campaign is underway in New Zealand to raise NZ$1 million to fund the project.

Habitat for Humanity Chief executive Claire Szabo said the money raised would include money from the community and businesses lending financial support, tools and tradespeople.

“The locals are very involved,” she told Radio New Zealand.

“We have engineers and builders that are involved in supervision both here in New Zealand and up in Tonga. So there’s a whole crew of people to get involved to make our model happen.”

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