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Cyclone Ian expected to hit Tonga: Oxfam poised to respond

Cyclone Ian expected to hit Tonga: Oxfam poised to respond

Oxfam New Zealand is ready to respond to cyclone Ian which is due to hit Tonga overnight. Ian is slow moving, which leads to greater destruction, and heavy rain, strong winds, high swells and flash flooding are expected.

The Fiji Met Service suggests the cyclone will pass by Vava'u (population 15,000) around midnight New Zealand time, and then Ha'apai (population 6,600) around midday New Zealand time, Saturday 11 January.

Oxfam is expecting to send emergency staff to Tonga to assess the situation on the ground, and identify the most urgent needs.

Carlos Calderon, Pacific Humanitarian Manager for Oxfam New Zealand, says: “Once the urgent needs are assessed we are expecting to help coordinate the supply of clean water and sanitation for those affected by the disaster.”

Oxfam, along with its partner The Tongan National Youth Congress (TNYC), has virgin coconut oil programmes in both Vava’u and Ha’apai. Oxfam is liaising with TNYC and the Tongan Red Cross to prepare for an appropriate and coordinated response.

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