Cyclone Gita hits Pacific – Cash is the best way to help
10 February 2018
New Zealand’s international charities are working alongside local non-government organisations in countries potentially
affected by Cyclone Gita – a category 2 cyclone that is intensifying as it moves towards Niue tonight.
Samoa is already experiencing the effects of the storm, after days of heavy rainfall. There have been reports of heavy
flooding, and communications and transportation have been severely restricted. While there are no reports of casualties
at this time, hundreds of people have been evacuated from their homes, with many seeking shelter in evacuation centres.
New Zealand NGOs and local partners are mobilising teams to assess and respond where necessary to the emergency. They
are all on standby to provide supplies and assistance, and some organisations already have pre-positioned supplies ready
to provide immediate support. NGO teams are also on the ground in communities in Niue and Tonga as Cyclone Gita tracks
in that direction.
“Once we know the scale of the problem, if people in New Zealand want to help, the best thing to do is send cash to New
Zealand NGOs working directly with local people,” says CID’s Humanitarian Coordinator, Nik Rilkoff.
“Sending stuff that you think might help can be counter-productive. Sixty percent of goods sent in a disaster are not
needed, and just end up sitting in containers.
“Cash donations are used to buy what people need the most. As we all wait to hear how badly our neighbours have been
affected and what they need the most, please remember that choosing to send cash can make a big difference.”
CID will remain in touch with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and will update information on which New Zealand NGOs are
responding in countries affected by Cyclone Gita as the situation develops.