Tongan NGO targets ways to avoid post-cyclone stress

A Tongan NGO is aiming to boost the disaster preparedness of locals to help avoid some of the psychosocial issues that were created out of February's Cyclone Gita.

Ma'a Fafine Moe Famili is an organisation that works with women and families and in the aftermath of the storm targeted assisting the elderly and those with disabilities.

The group has been allocated new funding to provide psychosocial support for people who are dealing with the loss of property and homes.

The organisation's head, Betty Hafoka-Blake, told RNZ they are involved with and have been counselling around 200 families.

Hafoka-Blake said they find a lot of people depressed and unhappy because of the great loss.

“Most of them have lost their building, completely damaged. Some were partly damaged and some were quite alright. However, the feeling of depressed and anxiety are still with them because according to most of the clients we visited, they have never experienced cyclone.”

 “And some of them when the warning came on the radio, they took it for granted because they felt oh we are so used to having cyclone, but little did they know that it would go to the extreme that it went to,” Hafoka-Blake said .