Home Repairs And Rebuild Focus For Habitat’s Work In Tonga
For immediate release, 26 January 2022 – Habitat for Humanity New Zealand is drawing on its proven track record of disaster response in the Pacific to assist the people of Tonga after the devastation caused by the eruption of Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai.
Habitat has worked in the Pacific for almost 30 years, with a focus on shelter and housing. It most recently completed housing repair work in Tonga on the island of ‘Eua in December 2021.
“We’ve completed more than 800 home repairs across the nation of Tonga since 2016 by working with locally based partners such as Caritas Tonga. And we will continue to work with Tongan families and communities to help them recover after this most recent disaster,” says Alan Thorp, Group CEO, Habitat for Humanity New Zealand.
“In this initial stage while we know there is widespread devastation, and we know that houses will need to be rebuilt or repaired, we are currently assessing where our assistance can be best deployed. We are raising funds in preparation for commencing our reconstruction work on the ground in a few months time.
“Our kaupapa is to understand the needs of the community first before rushing in. We will work with local partners to develop a plan for what needs to be done, where and when.
“Our aim will be to help families and communities build back safer. This means working with them and taking a long-term view of what they may require, aside from immediate repairs. This may include cyclone strengthening, or building the skill base of a local community so they are able to repair and maintain their homes in the face of ever-increasing disasters in the Pacific.
“We’ve done this before, and we will do this again.”
At present all aid support must be contactless for Tonga, given its COVID-19 restrictions. Therefore Habitat will work with locally based partners in order to deliver programmes and repair work in a way that meets the contactless requirements of the Tongan Government.
As a member of the Council for International Development, Habitat reinforces the kaupapa that the best way the New Zealand public can support Tonga is to donate money via reputable aid organisations, of which Habitat is one.