Tonga Officially Requests International Aid After Cyclone Ian

admin's picture

UN credits action taken, but says humanitarian aid needed

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 21, 2014) - The United Nations says it is pleased to be officially asked by Tonga to offer cyclone relief as some immediate needs of the people are not being met.

The Tongan government officially invited the UN and other aid agencies to the Kingdom today, nine days after Cyclone Ian hit the northern islands of Ha'apai.

The UN resident coordinator, Osnat Lubrani, says there has been important action taken by the government, military and bilateral partner countries.

But she says there are gaps in health, sanitation and food security in which action by humanitarian groups is needed.

She says in the past week, there was a lack of understanding by some key ministries as to what humanitarian help could achieve.

"There was a need for clarification on how humanitarian assistance comes. There was a lot of effort invested in collecting very detailed information rather than putting out the request for assistance so that we could come in earlier. But I'm very pleased this has now been resolved and we can move quickly."

[PIR editor's note: According to Radio New Zealand International, National Emergency Office director Leveni Aho says the lasting impact of the storm is greater than the local capacity, expertise and resources in Tonga. Elsewhere, Matangi Tonga reports that the Ha'apai branch of Tonga's Development Bank, which was badly damaged by the cyclone, has announced that loan repayments will be deferred and interest charges and other fees for customers in Ha'apai will be waived for three months, costing the bank approximately US$45,686.]

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment