With Cyclone Gita passing through Tonga and Samoa in February we had to try and meet the immediate needs of both areas as requested through their National Councils.
Samoa got off relatively lightly with most of the damage being flooding and some roofs ripped off mostly at the western end of the main island, Upolu. There was also considerable damage to crops, breadfruit and bananas. It will be 6 months before crops will be reproducing. Damage to a drinking water supply on the island of Savaii also occurred.
Tonga as we have seen suffered considerable long term damage to property and crops on the main island of Tongatapu and neighbouring Eua.
Our aid to date has been both financial and material. In total we have to date forwarded NZ$10,000 to Tonga and NZ$3000 to Samoa. Through the generosity of our Area Councils and Conferences in our recent appeal $75,618.00 was donated. We thank you all for contribution. In discussion with both the National Councils we will prioritise projects and forward funding for these projects. We will advise as to where this will be directed. All aid is directed through the National Councils who have the responsibility to Project manage. We have received regular reports from both countries.
We have shipped to Tonga on 3 occasions this year clothing and food and household goods and to Samoa a recent shipment of clothing and food. Our thanks go to Del Soti and her team in Auckland for co-ordinating this. A pallet of goods have been sent to Samoa in recent days.
One of the requests from Tonga was vegetable seeds and we have ready to ship a large donation from Yates NZ. We are also working with NZ schools who are replacing desks and chairs and we will hopefully send to Tonga.
I have had contact with the NZ Embassies in both countries to try and establish as to what assistance we can get.
The recovery in Tonga is the most challenging and we will continue to work closely with the National Council.
We also need to acknowledge the funding, AUD$10,000, that we received from the National Council of Australia to assist with needs in Tonga. This will be directed to educational requirements as schools and their equipment was destroyed.
Our own Young Vinnies need to be congratulated on their “Gold Coin” and canned food project contribution.
Maurice Yeung, International Vice President Special Projects, Frank Brassil ITVP Oceania and Tony Muir International Twinning Co-ordinator have also been kept informed.