Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

The Ultimate Cruisers' Planning Tool

Navigation

You are here: Home / Countries / Tonga / Tonga cleans up after devastating Cyclone Gita - how yachties can help

Tonga cleans up after devastating Cyclone Gita - how yachties can help

By Sydney Morning Herald — last modified Feb 28, 2018 10:45 AM
Contributors: Sea Mercy.org
Tongans embark on recovery efforts after getting slammed by Category 4 cyclone. See guidance for yachts planning on visiting Tonga who wish to help with the recovery efforts, at bottom of report.

Published: 2018-02-28 00:00:00
Topics: Weather
Countries: Fiji , Samoa , Tonga

Tonga cleans up after devastating Cyclone Gita - how yachties can help

Picture from http://www.nzherald.co.nz

From Report by The Sydney Morning Herald.
February 17th, 2018

Thousands of Tongans were affected when Tropical Cyclone Gita tore through the country on February 12. The second named cyclone of the South Pacific season damaged the Samoan Islands and was catastrophic for Tonga, with winds of 230km/h flattening parts of Parliament House and causing significant damage and injuries across the kingdom.

Officials said the Category 4 cyclone impacted 70 percent of the population on the main island of Tongatapu and more than 1,000 homes were destroyed or damaged.

Gita hit Tonga around 8pm on Monday night and peaked between 11pm and 2am, slamming on to the south coast of the main island of Tongatapu, bringing down electricity lines, smashing churches and levelling fruit trees and crops vital to the island’s livelihood.

At its peak, winds reached 233km/h – far stronger than predicted, despite Gita not reaching a category five storm as anticipated.

According to the British Met office, Gita is the worst cyclone to pass so close to Tonga’s main islands in 60 years, and communications were lost overnight as Gita ripped the roof off the Tonga meteorological office as well as taking the national broadcaster off air for a time.

Clean-up efforts are under way with disaster response organisations and government agencies doing assessments and distributing relief items.

Local communities have rallied around each other to support aid and recovery efforts.

In Samoa there was extensive flooding, rivers burst their banks and houses were inundated. More than 200 people in Samoa needed emergency shelter. Apia, the capital, measured 425mm of rain over the last four days, the heaviest fall, giving 148mm, during Friday night.

Gita picked up pace as it left Tonga and banked south for Fiji, however Fiji escaped major damage from the category four cyclone with no major population centres affected.

Guidance for Yachts

Sea Mercy's (http://www.seamercy.org/) Clear Horizons program is preparing to respond with desalination units for clean drinking water, emergency shelters for operational hospitals and schools, and disaster response teams to assist the people in need.

President and Founder Richard Hackett sent the following report:

The majority of the damage from Gita in Tonga was on the primary island of Tongatapu and nearby Eua.  Although they are the most populated, they also have deep water ports and an international airport to receive deliveries of emergency aid and a road system to distribute the aid to the needed areas. NZ and Australia have committed a great deal of aid and support and are delivering it via the above ports and by naval vessel and the local Red Cross and other aid agencies are involved also.

The current needs are clean water, food, shelter and agricultural planning (which are being addressed). Although the major needs are covered, there will always be ongoing minor needs.

Yachts Helping:

The desire and ability to help is always important to sailors, however, without an official call for international help (majority of VAT and customs requirements waived), vessels bringing in aid on their vessels could find such benevolent support incurring VAT taxes, fines and risk of other Customs violations. Which brings us back around to the question of how can yachties help?

  • The best way to help is to support he local economies to help them get back on their feet. That means instead of bringing donated goods to the islands, bring extra cash (fundraise before you leave) and purchase needed items (when possible or available) locally to distribute. Sellers will bring more in as needed (or can be afforded). This approach not only makes sure your giving is having an effect, but you keep you vessel light.
  • Extra non-perishable provisions that can be shared that might be hard to come by (spices and canned foods) that can be shared when visiting a family wherever you might anchor.
  • Basic first aid kits or medical supplies to help meet needs as you see them (or simple water filters for clean water).

Thank you for your hearts and desires to help. We are expanding the ability and ease for yachts to ‘sail with a greater purpose’ in the South Pacific, but we must still follow the direction and desires of our island nation partners. Please give our regards and thanks to the sailing community!

Richard Hackett
President & Founder
Sea Mercy
www.seamercy.org

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Feb 27, 2018 02:50 PM

Sea Mercy's (http://www.seamercy.org/) Clear Horizons program is preparing to respond with desalination units for clean drinking water, emergency shelters for operational hospitals and schools, and disaster response teams to assist the people in need. See their website for more details on how you can help.

Countries
Albania
Algeria
American Samoa
Angola
Anguilla
Antarctica
Antigua & Barbuda
Argentina
Aruba
Ascension Island
Australia
Azores
BIOT (Chagos)
Bahamas
Bahrain
Barbados
Belgium
Belize
Bermuda
Bonaire
Bosnia
Bouvetoya
Brazil
British Virgin Islands
Brunei
Bulgaria
Cambodia
Canada
Canary Islands
Cape Verdes
Cayman Islands
Channel Islands
Chile
China
Christmas Island
Cocos Keeling
Colombia
Comoros
Cook Islands
Costa Rica
Croatia
Cuba
Curacao
Cyprus
Denmark
Djibouti
Dominica
Dominican Republic
East Timor (Timor Leste)
Easter Island
Ecuador
Egypt
El Salvador
Eritrea
Estonia
Falkland Islands
Faroe Islands
Federated States of Micronesia
Fiji
Finland
France
French Guiana
French Polynesia
French Subantarctic Territory
Galapagos
Gambia
Georgia
Germany
Gibraltar
Greece
Greenland
Grenada
Guadeloupe
Guam
Guatemala
Guinea-Bissau
Guyana
Haiti
Hawaii
Heard, McDonald & Macquarie Islands
Honduras
Hong Kong
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Ivory Coast
Jamaica
Japan
Jordan
Juan Fernandez Islands
Kenya
Kiribati
Kuwait
Latvia
Lebanon
Libya
Lithuania
Macau
Madagascar
Madeira
Malaysia
Maldives
Malta
Marion & Prince Edward Island
Marshall Islands
Martinique
Mauritania
Mauritius
Mayotte
Mexico
Monaco
Montenegro
Montserrat
Morocco
Mozambique
Myanmar (Burma)
Namibia
Nauru
Netherlands
New Caledonia
New Zealand
New Zealand's Subantarctic Islands
Nicaragua
Niue
Norfolk Island
Northern Marianas
Norway
Oman
Palau (Belau)
Panama
Papua New Guinea
Peru
Philippines
Pitcairn Island
Poland
Portugal
Puerto Rico
Qatar
Reunion Island
Romania
Russia
Saba
Samoa
Sao Tome and Principe
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Singapore
Sint Maarten
Slovenia
Solomon Islands
Somalia
South Africa
South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands
South Korea
Spain
Spanish Virgin Islands
Sri Lanka
St Barts
St Helena
St Kitts & Nevis
St Lucia
St Martin
St Pierre & Miquelon
St Vincent & the Grenadines
Statia
Subantarctic & Southern Ocean Islands
Sudan
Suriname
Sweden
Syria
Taiwan
Tanzania
Thailand
Tokelau
Tonga
Trinidad & Tobago
Tristan da Cunha
Tunisia
Turkey
Turks & Caicos
Tuvalu
US Virgin Islands
USA
Ukraine
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
Uruguay
Vanuatu
Venezuela
Vietnam
Wallis and Futuna
Yemen
Add/Update Your Business
If you would like your business to be listed, or the details are wrong, please update your business
Platinum Sponsors