TONGA TSUNAMI VICTIMS IDENTIFIED

194 families lose homes on Niuatoputapu

NUKU΄ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Oct. 4, 2009) - The names of the nine people who died from the Tsunami that struck Niuatoputapu on Wednesday morning, September 30 was released by the Prime Minister’s Office last night.

The nine deaths are:

Losalio Lefai

 Sefo Lefai

Toni Lefai (child)

Tina Lefai (infant)

Kalolo Kivalu

Lesina Tupouto‘a

Tu‘ulomia Tavake

Heneli Losalu

Lupe Pukenga

The fact that the tsunami disaster has further isolated Niuatoputapu from the rest of the world has made it difficult to assist the needy people of Niuatoputapu.

There has been no ferry service to Niuatoputapu since the sinking of the MV Princess Ashika on August 5, and the tsunami disabled the Tonga Communication Corporation TCC communication facility on the island, and damaged runway.

The first flight to land at Niuatoputapu was on Thursday morning, October 1 more than 24 hours after the tsunami had struck.

The patrol boat of the Tonga Defence Services also arrived at Niua on Thursday evening, and at last a range of assistances were available for the needy people of Niuatoputapu.

The report of a survey that was carried out by staff of the Ministry of Works on the state of housing on the three villages on Niuatoputapu, on Friday, October 2 showed that 194 families lost their homes.

The worst hit was the main village of Hihifo, where most government buildings are located, including a Royal Resident, a Health Center, a Police outpost, a branch of the Tonga Development Bank, and the Tonga Communication Corporation communication facility.

At Hihifo, 132 families lost their houses and were homeless, 109 families have damaged houses, and 75 families have undamaged houses.

At Falehau Village, where the Pasivulangi wharf is located, 32 families were homeless, 28 have damaged houses, and 37 have undamaged houses.

Vaipoa Village has 30 homeless families, 6 families with damaged houses, and 177 with undamaged houses.

Meanwhile assistance to the island are on their way. The French navy ship FNS Revi is scheduled to arrive on Monday 5 October with assistance from Australia, New Zealand, and France which arrived in Tongatapu yesterday afternoon.

The Prime Minister’s Office stated on a media report on yesterday evening, October 3 that the Tongan patrol boat VOEA Savea was scheduled to arrive at Niuatoputapu yesterday evening with relatives of the deceased, additional supplies, donated food, clothing, essential staff and equipment.

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