Maungakiekie MP supports Tongan Community with relief effort
Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga
MP for Maungakiekie
15 January 2014 Media Statement
Maungakiekie MP supports NZ Tongan Community with disaster relief efforts
Cyclone Ian passed over the Ha'apai island group of the Kingdom of Tonga as a Category 5 storm over the weekend. There has been one confirmed fatality and extensive damage to housing, crops, public buildings, key infrastructure and communications.
“My heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with the family who lost a loved one and all those who have had their homes and livelihoods devastated by Cyclone Ian. My sympathies also go to the Tongan community here in New Zealand who are also deeply affected by the cyclone,” Mr Lotu-Iiga said.
“I welcome our Government’s immediate response to the disaster. This includes $50,000 made available immediately for assistance and the deployment of a P3 Orion to survey the damage. I also welcome the support from the New Zealand Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management who have sent a staff member to assist Tonga’s National Emergency Management Office (NEMO) at their request with response coordination.
“Last night, I attended a public organised by the Tongan community to respond to the immediate needs of the affected areas. I addressed the meeting updating the Tongan Community of our Government’s efforts to assist with disaster relief.
“I am working with the Ha’apai Relief Committee that was formed at the meeting to assist where I can. The committee is working with Matson Shipping on sending 3 containers of aid, as well as a fundraising concert and rebuilding projects,” Mr Lotu-Iiga said.
Members of the public who want to assist are encouraged to give cash donations via the NZ Red Cross (https://www.redcross.org.nz/donate/pacific-disaster-preparedness-and-response-fund/) or Oxfam New Zealand (http://www.oxfam.org.nz/donate-online/appeals/cyclone-ian). People who wish to donate goods are advised to do so only if they know there is a specific need for the item.