YOUR May peace mail from Tonga
Malo e Lelei Friends,
My name is ‘Asena and I work with the Tonga National Council of Churches (TNCC) in beautiful Tonga. I am a trainer in disaster risk reduction and preparedness throughout the country. I really enjoy my work because I can help communities be prepared for a cyclone or hurricane which means that more families will be safe. It’s really a blessing to me.
The main work I do is helping implement the Tonga Community-Based Disaster Risk Management (TCDRM) and Tropical Cyclone Gita Response programs, which you kindly support. When conducting the TCDRM training, I visit and stay with a community for around a week. I teach everyone the importance of having their own evacuation bag ready, we do some first aid training and take the community through a full simulation exercise. Through the church community, TNCC has longstanding relationships with the people of Tonga. This provides a strong foundation of trust, so I feel I can get to know people quickly which helps in my training.
I teach the community to listen to radio instructions during an emergency so they have the time to prepare and leave. Each community selects a town officer that we then train and he or she will listen for radio announcements from the government about a tropical storm. The town officer will learn when to signal an evacuation to the community.
We also teach communities that they need to evacuate the elderly and those with special needs first as it can take longer to move them to safety. In my own home, I share all my training with my family so they are well prepared. My children know that at the first sign they must help their grandmas and grandpas, and also an elderly neighbour, to evacuate.
I can see the difference the training makes.
Because I spend a full week with communities, I get to know the people quite well and often I am sad to leave them at the end of the week. They trust us and what we have taught them, and they don’t forget. The training is successful and we are happy.
Life is important. We hear the prediction for the future is of strong hurricanes and cyclones that might hit our country so we never give up training in disaster preparedness for the people.
Thank you people in Australia for helping us to be prepared.
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Your Support is making a difference:
$329 can provide a village with a community greenhouse. After a devastating storm, roads and thoroughfares are often damaged making it difficult to buy food for weeks, and sometimes months. A community greenhouse, with tools and seeds, helps make an entire community resilient by providing a secure source of food.
Tonga ranks as the second most at risk country in the world for natural disasters. The island kingdom is becoming increasingly vulnerable to the impact of climate disasters.
Your gifts provide life-saving training for the people of Tonga, helping them to be prepared when disaster strikes. Last February, Tropical Cyclone Gita was the most intense tropical cyclone to hit Tonga since reliable records began. Although sadly, there were two fatalities, the number could have been much worse if people didn’t have the warning system or knowledge to evacuate early.
Through our partner on the ground, the Tonga National Council of Churches (TNCC), the disaster preparedness program helps families stay safe, minimises property damage and ensures people have access to food and water throughout a natural disaster.
This Mother’s Day you can give a gift that will make a lasting difference to mothers living in poor communities in rural Pakistan with a Safe Baby Delivery Kit ($28), or even equip a Hospital Delivery Room ($1,379) which will help at-risk mothers’ deliver safely with the care and facilities that are needed. See more gifts at: www.actforpeace.org.au/gifts or call 1800 025 101
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