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Tonga: Cyclone Ian - How you can Help Ha’apai

By Sue Richards — last modified Jan 24, 2014 12:25 PM
Contributors: Kingdom Travel Centre
A little over a week ago, Cyclone Ian decimated the islands of Ha’apai in the Kingdom of Tonga, some of the poorest islands in the Kingdom. Find out how you can help.

Published: 2014-01-24 00:00:00
Topics: Weather , Environment
Countries: Tonga

A little over a week ago, Cyclone Ian decimated the islands of Ha’apai in the Kingdom of Tonga, some of the poorest islands in the Kingdom. Many cruisers who have enjoyed the  hospitality of this wonderful island nation have enquired how they can help the people of Ha’apai who have lost their homes and livelihoods.

On Tongatapu Island, the main island in the kingdom, Kingdom Travel Centre based in the capital Nuku'alofa are busy raising funds to help Ha’apai. The funds are for the purpose of supplying building materials so that the people who have totally lost their homes can, at the very least, build temporary shelter.

Owner Sue Leonard spent two days in Ha’apai  last week and told noonsite; “ Having seen for myself the destruction Cyclone Ian reeked on the communities in Ha’apai, it is very sad and concerning.

“Over 50% of the homes were totally destroyed and a further 30% seriously damaged.  There are people living under trees and under roof tops that have blown off their original home.  I hope that by publishing the plight of the people in Ha’apai we may receive donations from travellers that have enjoyed their hospitality in the past”.

For full information on donating to the fund see the facebook page https://www.facebook.com/KingdomTravel

The following report is taken from the Kingdom Travel facebook page;

“It was a terrifying cyclone and the biggest I’ve seen”. This is how Sione Veatupu of Uiha residing in Tongoleleka described cyclone Ian. Sione’s house was completely destroyed by the cyclone with only the foundation remaining.

“My wife, my two sons and I were here at home when the cyclone started to accelerate. I told my family to find shelter at the Free Weslyan Church Hall while I stay back to watch our home. My wife then told our eldest son to return and see how I was. When the cyclone switched directions I told my son to find shelter next door at a house recently built. When he left I felt our house begin to move so I followed him. When I got next door I looked back and the roof of our house had been blown off and everything was destroyed”, said Sione.

The Veatupu family are not sure what will happen now because both he and his wife are unemployed. “I work in the bush allotment at our plantation while my wife weaves, but with the current condition of the pandanus, I don’t think there will be any weaving for the rest of the year. The cassava has all been destroyed and whatever crop is left now is all we have but once that is finish we will just have to wait until another plantation is ready for harvesting.

Sione said what his family needs most is a small lamp and some food. He said they were fortunate to be amongst donations from the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints but they are hopeful for more donations. They would also like a large plastic tin to do their washing as there is nothing left.

Donations can be deposited into the following account:

Account Name: Help Ha’apai

Bank: ANZ, Tongatapu

Branch Number: 010930

Account Number: 1828625

Swift Code: ANZBTONN

For further information on how you can help, phone Lu’isa or Sue on +676 23192.

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