Fresh cyclone brews as Tonga struggles to recover

2014-01-16 14:07
Cyclone Ian (Picture: AFP)

Cyclone Ian (Picture: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Nuku’alofa - A fresh cyclone was brewing in the Pacific near the Solomon Islands on Thursday as humanitarian groups struggled to get relief supplies to outlying islands in Tonga devastated by Cyclone Ian.

Solomon’s forecasters said the region's second cyclone of the summer could hit this weekend, a week after Ian slammed into Tonga, killing one person, leaving about 4 000 homeless and destroying crops on outer islands.

Weather forecasts advised Solomon Islanders to keep listening to radio outlets for advice as the strengthening tropical depression in the region "poses threats to lives and properties".

Damage from Cyclone Ian was expected to run to several million dollars in Tonga where the Red Cross had not been able to reach all the affected people in the scattered islands four days after the storm passed.

"We've reached about 95% so far," said Red Cross secretary general Sione Taumoefolau who is overseeing the distribution of relief supplies.

The UN issued a report on Thursday saying more than 50% of 1 130 affected buildings on Tonga's central Ha'apai islands, which bore the brunt of Cyclone Ian, were destroyed.

A further 34% of the buildings and all but four of the 17 schools "have major damage”, according to the report from the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

"[The] immediate challenge is logistics to distribute relief and recovery items to outer islands, as well as within affected areas," it said adding this was being done without a formal call for international assistance.

International aid

The Tear Fund New Zealand aid organisation urged the Tongan government to seek international help urgently before the devastation was forgotten.

"The fact is they have a very short but clear window of time to raise support for this, and then it will drop off the radar," Tear chief executive Ian McInnes told Radio New Zealand.

"The needs of the Tongan communities will be eclipsed soon enough in the media by other needs and other issues and the window will have passed.

"My view is that if they want significant international support, they should ask for that now."

Taumoefolau said he expected the government would appeal for help within the next few days when the full cost of the damage was known.

New Zealand and Australia have each pledged $50 000 so far to recovery efforts.

Read more on:    un  |  red cross  |  tonga  |  new zealand  |  weather  |  natural disasters

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Amazing solar inventions!

Solar power is lighting up the world, and not just on rooftops anymore.



Plastic on your plate
Prince George the green prince?
Lean, green, drifiting machine
One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

It may be hard to maintain a steady rhythm as you find yourself juggling a zillion things. Slow down a little and let go of more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.