Tropical Cyclone Ian Update
Tonga, has declared a state of emergency. Severe damage was sustained by buildings, power lines and community systems, leaving many without homes or shelter. On Friday January 11, Islands in the northern Tongan group were hit by a powerful, category 5 cyclone, which ripped through the central Ha’apai islands of the tiny Pacific nation.
The majority of damage is on the northeast islands of the Ha’apai group, including Uiha, Uoleva, Lifuka, Foa, Ha’ano and Mo’unga’one. It is estimated that more than 70 per cent of buildings have been destroyed in this region, however the true extent of the damage is still unknown.
What is TEAR Fund's response?
As you may all know, for years TEAR Fund has been working together with a local partner in Tonga, Ola Fou, preparing locals for an emergency and helping them build resilience to natural disasters like Tropical Cyclone Ian. Ola Fou is a youth education programme, which works in the local community, equipping young people with tools to become future leaders and in turn empower their own communities. As part of this, all Ola Fou students receive disaster preparedness training and are encouraged to implement this knowledge in their local community. Currently, Ola Fou staff and students on the ground are actively implementing the disaster preparedness projects they have in place and we are continuing to support them.
Pacific islands are regularly affected by cyclones and natural disasters and Tonga is particularly vulnerable. By training youth leaders who are equipped with the knowledge of what to do in case of an emergency, we can future strengthen local communities who are regularly affected by natural disasters, preventing further destruction.
How can you Help?
Donate now to support the work Ola Fou is doing in their own nation by clicking the button below. Your support will help train more leaders, like those who are already a part of the Tongan National Youth Congress and their response in Tonga. You can also join us in as we pray for minimal impact for the people of Tonga and for the cyclone to weaken and disperse.