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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 4) – The American Samoa chapter of the Fofo’anga Club of Tonga and the Tongan community in the territory are gathering funds, food and materials for residents of their home country displaced after the riot last month in Tonga.

[PIR editor’s note: Much of Nukualofa, capitol of Tonga, was destroyed by fire during a major riot on November 16. The riot erupted after Tongan lawmakers were presented with competing plans to allow greater democracy in Tonga, last of Pacific nations to have a ruling monarch. Tongans living in Honolulu also raised money recently to help rebuild the town.]

The local chapter, held a fund raising event last month where more than $1,000 was collected which has since been sent to Nuku’alofa.

Sione Kava, the group’s executive director says the money will be put together in a pool in Nuku’alofa and will be distributed to assist displaced workers.

Kava says the most immediate need at this point is to help displaced workers and their families.

He says the club is awaiting more information from Tonga to find out what other types of assistance are needed immediately.

In the meantime, he says local families are providing materials and supplies, as well as food items. He said with most of the stores in Nuku’alofa destroyed, getting food items has become difficult.

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