INDEPENDENT NEWS

Tongan people spread the love on Valentine's Day

Published: Thu 15 Feb 2018 10:05 AM
Rotary New Zealand is receiving regular bulletins from its trusted partners in Tonga. Rotary Tonga, Tonga Community Development Trust (TCDT) and Mainstreaming of Rural Development Innovation Tonga Trust (MORDI) personnel with their volunteers are working tirelessly distributing Rotary New Zealand’s Emergency Response Kits..
“What a Valentines Day- working to put a smile on the people's faces” said Rotary’s Tonga Humanitarian Support Coordinator Masha Surofv.
TCDT’s CEO Sione Fakaosi’s view is “Cyclone Gita has impacted greatly on the livelihoods, especially the agricultural sector on Tongatapu. The people of Tongatapu will experience severe food shortage in the next 6 to 12 months. Some of the fruit trees, such as bananas and breadfruit will take much longer before they will bear fruit again. The most vulnerable communities, especially those located in the low lying areas will also take much longer to recover their food security. It is also very likely that the cost of domestic agricultural food will increase dramatically in the next 12 months. In my experience with the government recovery programs from previous cyclones, they will introduce policies to encourage short term gardening for immediate food security. The government usually cover the cost and provide planting materials and land preparation to farmers to plant short term food crops, such as, sweet potatoes, potatoes, vegetables like tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage, corn, etc. It is aimed primarily for subsistence use and food security. It will benefit those that have good piece of land either at home or in the bush. It will definitely rule out those vulnerable homes in the flooding areas and without fertile soil in their home. Those vulnerable homes that do not have soil to plant any food crops need help in the recovery of food security.”
Rotary New Zealand will be work with its Tonga partners to address food security concerns and other pressing issues in the coming months. Rotary New Zealand spokesperson Stuart Batty says “the support for our Pacific neighbours immediately after a cyclone has become almost predictable. Many organisations respond with a flush of emotion and compassion providing essential provisions for survival, but if the pattern follows that of Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu in 2015 and Cyclone Winston in 2016, come Easter, Tonga’s most vulnerable will become long suffering. You only have to visit parts of Fiji two years on from Cyclone Winston to see children still being taught in now rotting tents because promises of rebuilding schools by international donors to a large extent have not materialised.” Rotary in fact is one of the few that has lived up to its promise, but needs more donors to assist them.”
Donation options may be found on www.rnzwcs.org

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