Thousands fear hunger as report released

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A report says almost 5000 people in Ha’apai were affected when cyclone Ian hit on Saturday leaving nearly 1000 households homeless with many evacuated to church and public halls.

The category 5 cyclone struck Ha’apai Islands in Tonga with gusts of up to 287km per hour destroying homes and it claimed the life of 51-year-old Kalolaine Paongo of Pangai. The woman injured her leg when it hit by a roofing iron. She later died in hospital.

Tongan disaster teams assisted by the New Zealand relief personnel were dispatched to the area on Sunday to begin relief and assessment operation.  

A National Emergency Management Office (NEMO) Ha’apai Impact Analysis report was made available yesterday.

From the figures shown the areas affected by the cyclone have a total population of 4979 with an estimated  households of 952. The cyclone hit only six islands. They were Lifuka, Foa, Uiha, Lofanga, Mo'unga'one and Kauvai Ha'ano.

Ha’apai has a population of 8000 but Tonga Red Cross this week mentioned  6000 when its secretary general, Sione Taumoefolau referred to the islands’ population.

Sixty two islands altogether but only 19 are inhabited (according to District and town offficers Act 1988)

The villages of  Pangai  in Lifuka, Faleloa in Foa, Ha’ano in Kauvai and the island of Mo’unga’one  were  the worst-affected areas, according to the NEMO's impact report.  

It says Pangai has a total population of 1239 and has an estimated households of 239. The cyclone ripped off roof of the Pangai market and 75% of the houses destroyed. Twenty percent of the Police Station was destroyed and 50 percent damaged, the report says.  

 Faleloa in Foa Island, total population of 353, estimated households of 61 in which 70 percent of the shelter and buildings majorly damaged.

Pukotala in the Kauvai Ha’ano Island has a population of 91 in total, estimated households of 17.  The report says 22 houses destroyed and 15 damaged.  Overall about 60 percent of the village destroyed or majorly damaged.

Mo’unga’one Island, total population 92, estimated households 20. About 70 percent of the island destroyed,  35 houses destroyed and 3 damaged, the report says.  

Ha’ano in  Kauvai Ha’ano Island, total population 115, estimated households 27.  Seventy five percent of the  buildings and shelter  including churches and primary school majorly damaged.  Ten houses destroyed and 24 damaged , 3 were left unaffected, according to the report.

Hihifo in Lifuka Island has a population of 833 in total, estimated households 167. Hospital roof damaged, according to the report.

Holopeka in Lifuka Island, total population 141, estimated households 27. About 60 percent of the buildings and shelter destroyed.

Koulo in Lifuka Island, total population 214, estimated households 37. About 50 percent of the buildings and shelter destroyed.

Fangale’ounga in  Foa Island, total population 174, estimated households 30.  About 50% of the buildings and shelter destroyed, and 10 to 20 percent  damaged.

Fotua in Foa Island,  total population 225, estimated households 36. About 15 percent of houses destroyed and 15 percent damaged.

Lotofoa in Foa Island, total population 410, estimated households 67. About 50 percent of  the buildings and shelter damaged.

Ha’afakahenga, in Foa Island,  total population 102, estimated household 18.  About 25 percent of the buildings and shelter damaged.

Ha’ateiho Si’i in Foa Island, total population of 105, estimated households 19. About 25 percent of the buildings and shelter damaged.

Fakakakai in  Kauvai Ha’ano Island, total population of 176, estimated households 33. About 13 buildings and a church destroyed, about 60 percent of the  buildings damaged.

Muitoa in Kauvai Ha’ano Island, total population 37, estimated households 9. About  5 houses majorly damaged.

Uiha Island, total population 415, estimated households 78. About  10 damaged.

Felemea in ‘Uiha Island, population 137, estimated households 34. About 5 light damages.

Lofanga Island, total population 120, estimated households 33. Light damage. 6 houses damaged, 40 were saved.

Aucklanders meeting

There is grave concern now about the safety and conditions of people outside Lifuka Island as relief angencies have yet to reach them.

All assistances and relief operations available ended up in Lifuka only where the adminitrative centre is. 

Tongans in Auckland will hold a meeting today to organise relief efforts to help the cyclone victims back home and the community would only be asked to donate foods and water.

Makalita Kolo one of the coordinators said that was the  advice from the Opposition Leader MP 'Akilisi Pohiva saying there was fear some people in Ha'apai may have not been access to clean water and food since the cyclone left.

"That's what we will take with us to the meeting  this evening to discuss  with the people, " Kolo said.

"There are other essential  supplies that are important like shelter, tents and clothing but other relief agencies are providing them, food and water are the most immediate needs now," she said.

Ha’apai Islands:

Population: 8000 (Tonga Red Cross claimed 6000).

Contain 62 islands, 19 inhabited

Districts: (District and town offficers Act 1988)

 (1) Mu'omu'a District. The islands of Nomuka, Mango, Fonoifua, Kelefesia and Tonumea.

(2) Lulunga District. The islands of Ha'afeva, Tungua, Matuku, 'O'ua, Kotu and Fotuha'a, Kao and Tofua.

(3) "Uiha District. The islands of 'Uiha and Lofanga.

(4) Lifuka District. The island of Lifuka.

(5) Foa District. The island of Foa.

(6) Ha'ano District. The islands of Ha'ano and Mo'unga'one.

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