Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Team to Tonga following reports of ‘complete destruction’

For immediate release
14 January, 2014

Oxfam deploys team to Tonga following reports of ‘complete destruction’

Oxfam New Zealand has sent an emergency response team to Tonga today and is gearing up its aid efforts following reports of utter destruction left by Cyclone Ian to the northern islands of Ha’apai.

Matelita Blake-Hour, from Oxfam’s partner organisation in Tonga, The Tongan National Youth Congress (TNYC), is in Ha’apai as part of the Tongan Government’s assessment team, surveying the damage to determine the most urgent needs.

“I’ve never seen anything so fierce and so scary in my life,” said Ms Blake-Hour today. “In some areas I can see the path the cyclone cut through the trees, it’s complete destruction - every house has been destroyed and every family affected, but then out of the path of the cyclone some trees and buildings are still standing.

“There is about 90% destruction to the low-lying, outer islands of Foa, Ha’ano and Mo’unga’one, and about 80% to Pangai, the capital of Ha’apai.

“Houses, trees, even plants are destroyed. There’s no fruit, no crops, or anything. Some houses have been lifted up and put down somewhere else.

“Even the road from Pangai to the airport, the sea has picked it up and put it on the other side. Even the strong church building – its roof has been lifted off.

“I have seen cyclones before, many times, but nothing like this. People are homeless and living in evacuation centres, they’ve lost everything. It is good when they see us, they calm down, they know we will help.”

Ms Blake-Hour said that clean water for drinking and sanitation was a real concern as many people on the islands rely on rooftop rainwater catchment systems for drinking water, and wells for washing and cleaning water. Although water was stored prior to the cyclone in large tanks, most of it has been damaged.

“With all the roofs off houses there is no way for people to get clean water and most of the wells and water tanks have turned brown and taste salty from the sea. Dirt has got in and we are telling people not to drink it because it will make them sick,” she said.

Oxfam programmes in Ha’apai damaged

Oxfam, along with our local partner organisation the Tongan National Youth Congress (TNYC), has had programmes in Ha’apai for almost two years, including three organic coconut oil processing sites that provide a much-needed way for local farmers to earn a living exporting coconut oil to America.

Ms Blake-Hour has come across two out of three sites in her assessments with the Tongan government, both of which were found damaged.

“At one site the roof is torn off, at another the dryer is destroyed and all of the coconuts have been ripped from the trees. We need to collect the coconuts quickly and process them or we will lose a lot of oil, which means no way for people who have lost everything to make money and rebuild their lives.”

Oxfam sent two specialists to Tonga today and a third will follow tomorrow to help with water, sanitation, livelihoods and food.

Carlos Calderon, Pacific Humanitarian Manager of Oxfam New Zealand, will join the team in Tonga tomorrow. He says: “We will help with clean water, and re-establishing crops which will give people food to eat, but also to sell so they can support themselves, recover markets and re-build their lives. For people who get their incomes from the land, this is essential. We want to help them return to normality as soon as possible,” he says.

Oxfam New Zealand is appealing to the New Zealand public to generously support the Cyclone Ian relief effort.

Donations to Oxfam’s Cyclone Ian appeal can be made at www.oxfam.org.nz, by phoning 0800 600 700, or to make an automatic $3 donation, please text HELP to 4847.


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Patience: Drive Safe

Be patient before passing is the AA's message for drivers this Labour weekend.

"People taking crazy risks to get past other vehicles is one of the most dangerous things on the road,” says AA spokesperson Dylan Thomsen.

“The weather is looking good for the long weekend so the roads will be busy. Unfortunately, that also increases the chances of people getting frustrated and trying a risky passing manoeuvre. When they get past, there will probably be more traffic up ahead anyway so it won’t get people there faster.” More>>

 
 

Parliament Today:

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Tokenism Of New Zealand's Role Against Islamic State

Our contribution against IS will be to send SAS forces to train the Iraqis? That’s like offering trainers to General Custer just as the 7th cavalry reached the Little Big Horn. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Shell And Todd Caught Drilling Without Approval

Multi-national oil company Shell’s New Zealand arm and local energy giant Todd Energy have breached the new law governing New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the Environmental Protection Authority says in an Oct. 10 document released by the Green Party. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Pharmac, Gough Whitlam And Sleater-Kinney

We’re not at the outset of these negotiations. The outset was six years ago, and negotiators were hoping to have some sort of ‘framework’ deal finished in time for the APEC meeting in a few weeks’ time. These ‘extreme’ positions are what we’ve reached near the intended end of the negotiations… More>>

ALSO:

PM Of Many Hats: Questions, No Answers On Whale Oil

Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader – Green) to the Prime Minister: How many times since November 2008 has he spoken with blogger Cameron Slater on the phone and how many times, if any, has he texted him?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): None in my capacity as Prime Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Aussie Investigation Dropped: Call On Minister McCully To Pursue The Case Of Balibo Five

West Papua Action is deeply concerned at the lack of any clear outcome from the Australian Federal Police inquiry into the 1975 deaths of the ‘Balibo Five’ including NZ journalist Gary Cunningham. More>>

ALSO:

'Feed The Kids' Bill: Metiria Turei To Lead Fight On Feeding Hungry Children

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is urging all political parties to support the Feed the Kids Bill which she inherited today from Mana leader Hone Harawira. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: State Opening Of Parliament

The House sat at 10.30am on Tuesday before MPs were summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news