On Feb 12, Cyclone Gita tore through Tonga. It was the strongest the country had seen in 60 years, and thousands of families lost their homes and their entire livelihoods. Your gifts to the emergency appeal saved lives in the days immediately following the cyclone and are now helping people to get back on their feet.
Stories that matter
- Rebuilding after Cyclone Gita
Just two days after the storm, I was on the ground to support our local partner and to help identify which communities had been hit the hardest, and who was most in need of shelter, food and water.
As soon as I landed, I could see the damage. There was debris everywhere, uprooted trees and crops and homes and schools were destroyed. The entire electricity grid was blown apart too, so no one had access to phones or power for days, some weeks.
Thousands of houses had been partially or totally destroyed by the cyclone. Families were forced to take refuge in crowded evacuation centres. Many families still are still homeless.
Thanks to your support, we were able to reach families with clean drinking water in the days following the cyclone. Without it, people would have to travel long distances to find a safe water source. This has many risks – especially for children, the elderly and people with disabilities.
As well as providing clean water, we provided tarpaulins to families whose roofs were blown off and walls destroyed, so they could stop the rain and wind from entering their homes. It’s still the middle of the cyclone season in Tonga, so it rains almost every other day.
This has been devastating for families across Tonga. And it impacts the poorest people, or those with large families the hardest, putting them under a lot of extra pressure. Many people who rely on subsistence farming have lost all of their crops and are struggling to feed their families.
Recovery is a slow process but with your support, we will continue to provide relief in the form of water tanks and farming programs, especially targeting the most vulnerable, including single parent families and people with disabilities.
Yvette Crafti, Disaster and Emergencies Program Coordinator