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Emergency supplies for cyclone-affected island

Dawn Gibson
Monday, January 13, 2014

FEARING for the welfare of the distraught masses on Tonga's Northern island of Ha'apai, Deputy Prime Minister Samiu Vaipulu left Nuku'alofa yesterday morning on board naval vessel Savea with emergency supplies for those affected by Tropical Cyclone Ian.

This was confirmed yesterday evening by Vuvui Fotu who is the owner of Tongan public relations company Drua PR and Media Company, who said there was also a chartered flight by Digicel which departed for Ha'apai to help with emergency supplies.

The Fijian community in Tonga however, have managed to keep safe despite the weather conditions.

"At the moment, there has been one death and that has been in Ha'apai, which seems to be the worst affected at the moment," Ms Fotu told this newspaper yesterday in an interview.

"Patrol boats which were deployed this morning have also managed to reach some of the outer islands in Ha'apai and have reported that the damage there are quite minimal, which is good news, so they are now headed to the main island of Ha'apai and hopefully will send more updates about damage."

She said at present, only one response team had managed to reach the main island of Ha'apai to distribute emergency supplies, but they were hoping the Savea vessel would also reach the main island soon.

The category four cyclone has hovered between Fiji and Tonga for the past week and recently hit the islands of Ha'apai and Vava'u cutting power and communication lines on both islands.

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