YOUR May peace mail from Tonga
I live in the beautiful island nation of Tonga, in my village of Mata’aho on ‘Eua Island with my family and friends. I am an assistant secretary of the Village Emergency Management Committee and I have an important role to play in helping my community prepare for a disaster.
Our committee trains our fellow villagers on how to best prepare their households in case of a natural disaster. We were able to put this into practice in February with Cyclone Gita. We show people how to prepare their homes. This includes putting shutters on windows and cutting down cassava and banana leaves, which cause damage to homes and crops. We encourage each household to have a 72 hours bag, which includes everything a family needs for a quick evacuation in an emergency.
On Friday 9 February 2018, when the first cyclone warning was issued, I put shutters on my windows and removed debris from my gutters and our water tank. My neighbours followed by doing the same to their homes.
On Monday I went house to house with the other members of the Village Emergency Management Committee, checking that everyone was prepared.
We designated the community centre to be the evacuation point, and my committee arranged early evacuation for the elderly, people with a disability, pregnant women and also children.
Tropical Cyclone Gita hit that night with its peak around midnight. Everyone was safe either in the community centre or in their homes. Only those with a secure enough house stayed in their homes.
Once Gita had passed and it was safe to venture out, my team and I conducted an initial damage assessment and got to work helping people clear the roads. As a result of our training and preparedness, there were neither deaths nor injuries in my village. This is a huge success!
Thank you so much for your support. Having our households prepared wouldn’t have been possible without your support.
As part of the Disaster Risk Reduction project – every household prepares a 72 hour bag, ready to grab in case of an emergency. This typically includes passports, drinking water, clothing, food, blankets, candles, a lighter, a radio, and a torch with extra batteries.
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Please give generously to continue our life-saving work here or find out about how you can become an Act for Peace Regular Giver.
In February 2018, Category 4 Tropical Cyclone Gita hit our island neighbour with destructive winds of more than 230 kilometres per hour. Gita tore roofs from houses, brought down trees and caused widespread flooding. But thanks to your kind support, people were prepared and evacuation procedures were in place.
Tonga is ranked the second most at-risk country in the world for natural disasters. This island nation is becoming increasingly vulnerable to the impact of climate change, which poses a serious threat to people and their livelihoods.
Through our partner on the ground the Tonga National Council of Churches (TNCC), your gifts are helping communities prepare by providing training in disaster risk reduction. The program aims to help people stay safe, minimise property damage and ensure families have access to food and water during and after natural disasters. Thank you again for your kind gifts.
Your support is making a difference
- $16,470 can help prepare an entire community for a disaster with workshops, training and simulation exercises. The result is that damage to people and property is vastly reduced.
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More ways to take action
Bloody conflicts across Africa have forced millions of women and children from their homes. Help them get the medical care and support they need to survive.
Cyclone Gita has devastated Tongan communities, destroying everything in its path. Please help provide the emergency shelter, food and clean water they desperately need.
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