Mormon church in partnership with Tongan government to rebuild Ha'apai

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Tongan Government formally entered into a humanitarian partnership on 17 July to help the people of Ha’apai who are still recovering from January’s Cyclone Ian.

Representatives of the Church co-signed a memorandum of understanding with Lord Tuʻivakanō, Prime Minister of Tonga last week. This opens the door for desperately needed home repair and construction for the villages of Ha’apai.

Elder Aisake Tukuafu, Latter-day Saint Area Seventy, and Mr Howard Niu, the Church’s Tonga Service Centre Manager, represented the Church at the meeting with the Prime Minister.

The Church and Government will work together to rebuild 116 homes which were destroyed when Cyclone Ian hit the Ha’apai island group on 11 January. A further 61 homes, which were damaged but not destroyed, will be repaired as part of the project.

“We are grateful for the leadership of the Prime Minister and the Tongan Government in supporting the people of Ha’apai over the last few very difficult months,” Elder Tukuafu said today.

“We are also grateful for the members of our church here in Tonga and throughout the world whose hearts have been inclined towards our brothers and sisters in Ha’apai.”

The money to support this project comes from the Latter-day Saints’ humanitarian fund, to which Church members and others from around the world, including Tonga, donate.

The joint Church and Government humanitarian project will also focus on training locals on Ha’apai in building and other trade skills, as well as support families as they create and maintain family and community vegetable gardens.      

Hours after the cyclone hit Ha’apai on 11 January, Latter-day Saints on Tonga’s main island of Tongatapu rallied together to gather tents, tarps, food, water, blankets, medical provisions and other supplies which were shipped from Nuku’alofa to Ha’apai to provide relief to those affected.

Mormon News Room

Latter-day Saints in Samoa also sent food by boat to Ha’apai in two separate trips.

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