Tearfund Preparing Communities for Cyclone Gita
New Zealand aid and development NGO, Tearfund, is working through partners in Tonga to prepare communities as Tropical
Cyclone Gita threatens to make landfall as a category four or five storm.
“Communities on the main island of Tongatapu are low lying, making them vulnerable to flooding from rain and sea
surges,” says Ian McInnes, Tearfund CEO and Chair of the Council for International Development.
“If Gita makes landfall as a category five cyclone, we would expect houses to be destroyed along with damage to coastal
roads and crops, meaning people would lose their livelihoods.
Tearfund’s partner in Tonga is putting together emergency packs for families, preparing houses, and equipping evacuation
centres with supplies. Our humanitarian specialists are also preparing to coordinate and implement an aid response if
one is needed.”
Tearfund’s partner ‘Ola Fou’ works in disaster risk reduction and youth leadership training in six countries across the
Pacific, including Tonga.
The UN’s World Risk report lists Tonga as the second-most disaster-prone country in the world, after Vanuatu. The report
takes into account the likelihood of a natural disaster as well as the preparedness of a country for dealing with one.