Tonga

Gita slaps Tonga with NZ$20 million bill

It will cost an estimated NZD$20 million (US$14,6 million) to fix the cyclone damage to the power grid on Tongatapu and ‘Eua, said Seti Chen, Operations Manager for Tonga Power Ltd.

This figure is from an initial assessment after the cyclone but if all goes well it may end up costing less.

“Obviously, we’re using a lot of hardware and material that we’ll be able to salvage and reuse but at the end of this week we will have a more accurate value of the overall damage,” he said.

Attack on emergency vehicle in Tonga a concern, 'Aho

Last Monday Cyclone Gita destroyed houses and crops across large areas of Tongatapu and 'Eua and since then NEMO trying to organise supply drops to the various villages impacted.

However in the early hours of Wednesday morning a rock was thrown at a NEMO truck when returning from distributing aid.

Director Leveni 'Aho said no one was hurt but a complaint had been laid with police.

The truck was unmarked so he said he can't be sure if the damage was targeted.

Mr 'Aho said, in general, people appreciate what they are doing.

NZ Tongans packing containers for relatives hit by Gita

The head of the Tonga Advisory Council, Melino Maka, said it would require a massive relief effort to get the country back back on its feet and support vulnerable communities which are suffering right now.

Mr Maka said Matsons Shipping had donated the containers and the Hahake Cyclone Gita Relief Group was asking Tongan families in New Zealand with relatives in the Hahake, or eastern districts of Tongatapu, to fill them with non-perishable food and water.

Mr Maka said they used a 'family to family' distribution model.

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Pohiva expects Tonga to bounce back after Gita

Buildings and crops were severely damaged on Tongatapu and 'Eua and hundreds have been left homeless.

But 'Akilisi Pohiva said locals had retained their good humour and had got on with the job of recovering from the category four storm.

"They feel sorry for what has happened but they still enjoy life. Remember, you know Pacific people, especially Tongans, are very simple. They are not complicated.

"Most people they know how to handle disasters."

Pohiva satisfied with disaster recovery

Auckland to face Tonga in June

Auckland will host the Tonga New Zealand Residents in the feature match on Saturday, June 2, with a sea of red set to converge on Mount Smart Stadium #2 following on from Mate Ma’a Tonga’s success at the recent Rugby League World Cup.

In the curtain-raiser the Auckland Maori U20 will face Samoa U20, with both games to be streamed live and free on aucklandleague.co.nz.

ARL general manager Greg Whaiapu said aside from putting the Auckland jersey back at the forefront of the New Zealand league scene, it was a chance to provide players with a meaningful representative game.

Record insurance payout for Tonga following Cyclone Gita

Funds were transferred after seven days of the cyclone event, providing the government with rapid-response financing to support disaster-relief efforts and effective service delivery to the affected areas.

Drones help Tonga's cyclone damage assessment

A fleet of the World Bank's drones, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, has been transported to Tonga with the support of the Australian government.

The Pacific regional representative for the World Bank, Michel Kerf, said the drones were being used to map the damage wreaked by Gita.

According to him, the mapping will be crucial to helping Tonga's government determine priority areas for recovery and reconstruction.

Tonga has received a payout of more than US$3.5 mill from the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Insurance Company.

UNICEF and NZ team up to get 14,000 kids in Tonga back in school

“The New Zealand Defence Force’s assistance in airlifting these UNICEF education supplies is key to ensuring the most vulnerable children in Tonga can return to school as soon as possible and regain a sense of normalcy in their disrupted lives,” said Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Pacific Representative.

“UNICEF is supporting the Ministry of Education and Training in Tonga to reach thousands of children affected by this disaster by bringing the classrooms to the children after their schools were damaged in the cyclone,” Mr Yett added.

India contributes $1 million for Tonga devastated by Cyclone Gita: UN

Of that US$500,000 would be given as immediate relief to Tonga and another US$500,000 would be allocated to it from the India-UN Development Partnership Fund (I-UNDPF), the UN Office of South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) announced Monday.

“Following the assessment of the damages caused and priorities needing support, the Government of Tonga will identify the rehabilitation projects to be supported through the I-UNDPF,” UNOSSC said.

The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that the Category 4 cyclone was the worst on record to hit Tonga.

Tonga hotel operator says Gita victims still desperate

Katie Silcock, who is the general manager of the Scenic Hotel, which is near the country's international airport on Tongatapu, said many people in a village near the hotel were in desperate straits.

She said she, and the hotel's assistant manager, visited nearby Fua'amotu village on Tuesday and found people still short of shelter, food and water.

Ms Silcock said she was also concerned at the unsanitary conditions and the risk of dengue.