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

Gordon Campbell: On The Wage Hike For MPs (and Paul Robeson)

Hard to tell what is more infuriating. Is it the 5.3% increase on the already bloated salaries of MPs, or their pantomime of outrage at being gifted with such a wonderful back-dated bonanza?

As usual, Prime Minister John Key has busily tried to distance himself from the political fallout, even though he happens to be the main beneficiary of the Remuneration Authority’s generosity. Finance Minister Bill English says with a straight face that it would actually be very hard to give the money back...

Even if it were true, it would actually be very easy for English and any other guilty colleagues, to give the extra money away. There are any number of food banks or homeless shelters who would be able to put the money to good use. More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

No Designers Or Visual Artists: Flag Panel Members Announced

The Government has appointed 12 New Zealanders as members of the Flag Consideration Panel which will engage with the public about a possible new New Zealand flag, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English says. More>>

ALSO:

Labour MP Stands Down From Portfolio: Comment From Carmel Sepuloni

The first I knew of my mother’s charges was when I was called by a reporter yesterday. I spoke to Andrew and we agreed there is a conflict of interest at the present time which means I will temporarily stand aside from the Social Development portfolio. It’s the right thing to do… . More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Whether NZ Troops Are The Least Of Islamic State’s Problems

Given that it has been politically packaged and sold as a training mission, the Iraq deployment announced yesterday by Prime Minister John Key seemed to be mysteriously short of actual trainers... The other wing of the argument is whether a troop deployment is (a) the only effective way and (b) the appropriate time to combat Islamic State. More>>

ALSO:

143 Troops, Possible SAS Deployment, Legalities Unsorted: PM’s Statement On ISIL

Mr Speaker, today I am announcing to the House the Government’s decisions about our contribution to the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL... More>>

ALSO:

Liu Saga: PM's Dinner With Controversial Donor

John Key must front up to New Zealand and say what he discussed with Donghua Liu when the disgraced businessman paid $25,000 for the Prime Minister to come to dinner at his Remuera home, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Roads: National MP 'Concerned' At Overseas Driver Crashes

Waitaki MP and Parliamentary Private Secretary for Tourism Jacqui Dean said she was concerned at the number of fatal crashes involving overseas licence holders and she really felt that the time had come for more to be done. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: Parole Bill Passes

A bill reducing parole hearings deemed to be unnecessary has passed. The third reading of the Parole Amendment Bill was completed by 104 to 16 with the Greens and Maori Party opposed. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news