ACT Appeal Tonga: Rehabilitation for Hurricane Waka Victims - PATA-21

Report
from Action by Churches Together International
Published on 28 Feb 2002
Appeal Target: US$ 230,412
Balance Requested from ACT Network: US$ 166,361

Geneva, 28 February 2002

Dear Colleagues,

Tropical Cyclone Waka formed on the north west of Wallis Island on 29 December 2001. From there it moved in a south westerly and then south easterly direction towards the Tonga group gaining strength as it approached Niuafo'ou, followed by Vava'u. Around midnight of 30 December 2001, TC Waka was "on top" of Niuafo'ou and late evening of 31 December it struck Vava'u before continuing its south-easterly direction away from the Tonga group. The maximum sustained winds were estimated at 100 knots with gusts up to 140 knots. TC Waka caused extensive damages to food and cash crops, fruit bearing trees and buildings, particularly in Vava'u and Niuafo'ou where the centre of the cyclone made its landfall. Local peoples of these islands described this cyclone as the worst in living memory!

The most damage was suffered by the poorer and more vulnerable sectors of the communities living in old and poorly constructed dwellings. Many of these houses were also not well maintained. Most of these owners appear to be widows, the elderly and those with very large families and with very small or no income. Needs for shelter are great since many families are now sharing accommodation/shelter suitable for only one family.

ACT member the Tonga National Council of Churches (TNCC) approached the ACT Co-ordinating Office with a proposal for assistance in the form of construction and repair of damaged houses as well as reconstruction and repair of community and church halls. TNCC chose to request for assistance for the post-crisis phase, as much assistance is already forth coming in the emergency phase. As TNCC is a new partner of ACT, it was agreed to focus on a limited construction programme in the form of hurricane proof housing for 30 of the most vulnerable, poor families whose dwellings were completely destroyed.

Project Completion Date: 30 June 2002

Summary of Appeal Targets, Pledges/Contributions Received and Balance Requested (US$)

Total Appeal Target(s)
230,412
Less: Contrib in kind (labour)
64,051
Balance Requested from ACT Network
166,361

Please kindly send your contributions to the following ACT bank account:

Account Number - 240-432629.60A (USD)
Account Name: ACT - Action by Churches Together
UBS SA
PO Box 2600
1211 Geneva 2
SWITZERLAND

Please also inform the Finance Officer Jessie Kgoroeadira (direct tel. +4122/791.60.38, e-mail address jkg@act-intl.org) of all pledges/contributions and transfers, including funds sent direct to the implementers, now that the Pledge Form is no longer attached to the Appeal.

We would appreciate being informed of any intent to submit applications for EU, USAID and/or other back donor funding and the subsequent results. We thank you in advance for your kind cooperation.

ACT Web Site address: http://www.act-intl.org

Ms. Geneviève Jacques
Director
WCC/Cluster on Relations
Thor-Arne Prois
Director, ACT
John Damerell
Acting Director
LWF/World Service

I. REQUESTING ACT MEMBER INFORMATION

  • Tonga National Council of Churches (TNCC)
II. IMPLEMENTING ACT MEMBER & PARTNER INFORMATION

Tonga National Council of Churches is made up of 4 churches - the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga, the Diocese of Catholic Churches of Tonga, the Anglican Church of Tonga and the Free Constitutional Church of Tonga. All make up about 60% of the total population of about 100,000. After the 1982 major cyclone, Isaac, the Council set up an Emergency and Rehabilitation Unit and this has since been a major part of the Council's involvement in the society. The Emergency and Rehabilitation Unit comes under the Committee for Justice, Peace and Development.

TNCC is a member of the Tonga Association for Non-Governmental Organisations and also runs training workshops on emergency relief. It shares information and resources and helps in promoting disaster emergency awareness with the National Disaster Management Committee - with whom it assisted in running a disaster awareness week in October 2001.

III. DESCRIPTION of the EMERGENCY SITUATION

Background

Tropical Cyclone Waka formed on the north west of Wallis Island on 29 December 2001. From there it moved in a south westerly and then south easterly direction towards the Tonga group gaining strength as it approached Niuafo'ou, followed by Vava'u.

Around midnight of 30 December 2001, TC Waka was "on top" of Niuafo'ou and late evening of 31 December it struck Vava'u before continuing its south-easterly direction away from the Tonga group. The maximum sustained winds were estimated at 100 knots with gusts up to 140 knots. TC Waka caused extensive damages to food and cash crops, fruit bearing trees and buildings, particularly in Vava'u and Niuafo'ou where the centre of the cyclone made its landfall. Local peoples of these islands described this cyclone as the worst in living memory!

Tropical Cyclone Waka inflicted massive damages to residential houses, community halls, church buildings and commercial buildings both in Vava'u and Niuafo'ou, with smaller scale in Ha'apai and Niuatoputapu. Total costs are T$ 69,651,775 ( All monetary figures are from NDMC/Government Final Disaster Report 24/1/02)

Impact On Human Lives

There were no casualties reported except for a few minor injuries. There were massive amounts of debris and refuse as a result of the cyclone. There is no current disease outbreak yet, but the Health Ministry has warned against a possible outbreak of mosquito and fly-borne diseases as this is the height of summer in Tonga. Vava'u has had typhoid cases in the recent past and chlorination tablets are needed, especially for those who have only rainwater catchments.

The most damage was suffered by the poorer and more vulnerable sectors of the communities living in old and poorly constructed dwellings. Many of these houses were also not well maintained. Most of these owners appear to be widows, the elderly and those with very large families and with very small or no income. Needs for temporary shelter are great since many families are now sharing accommodation/shelter suitable for only one family.

The health and living conditions of the poor families whose dwellings suffered major damages after cyclone Waka's are of great concern. These people are the most vulnerable to health problems, especially those under 5 years and those above 50, and who make up 37% of the population of the affected areas.

Description of Damages

TC Waka inflicted massive damages to residential houses, schools, community halls, church buildings and commercial buildings both in Vava'u and Niuafo'ou, and to a smaller scale in Ha'apai and Niuatoputapu. Total costs are around T$69,651,775. The normal rehabilitation programme (i.e. under National Disaster Management Committee) does not include all businesses, churches and private properties.

Vava'u.

  • About 60% of all buildings have been damaged to some degree.
  • 500 have been completely damaged and
  • 1,000 partly damaged.
  • 23 of the community halls were completely damaged and
  • 36 suffered partial damage.
Niua-Fo'ou,
  • 2 dwelling houses were completely damaged and
  • 10 partly damaged.
Ha'apai.
  • 38 dwelling houses completely damaged
  • 24 partially damaged.
Niuatoputapu
  • 2 Partial damge.
School Buildings

A great number of school buildings at Vava'u and Niua-Fo'ou have been completely or partially damaged. On Vava'u, 15 Government Primary Schools, 1 Government High School and 4 church schools were damaged

  • On Niua-Fo'ou, 2 Government Primary Schools as well as the Government District High School suffered massive damages and will affect the forthcoming resumption of schools at beginning of February 2002.
  • On Niua-Toputapu the District High School building and staff quarters were almost totally destroyed.
  • On Ha'apai, Tailulu College was severely damaged.
Apart from school buildings, there were damages to other Government properties; Police & Prisons, Civil Aviation, Tonga Defence Services, Marine & Ports, Agriculture, Ministries of Works and fisheries.

Food & Agriculture.

Extensive damages have been caused to cash crops such as vanilla and kava and will take some time to rehabilitate, especially on Vava'u. The majority of the vanilla have been destroyed and it is likely that 12 months will be required before a limited harvest will be possible. Of the 1,000 acres of Kava, it is estimated that 300-400 acres will need to be harvested immediately before the roots rot. The Ministry of Agriculture said that food assistance will be needed after 3-4 weeks as well as planting materials and seeds. Coconut plantations showed severe damages but will be turned to good use if rehabilitation shelters get assistance.

Power Supply & Communications.

Communication and power lines both were seriously affected, and it will take 3 - 6 months to return to near normal. Needs for portable power generators are great.

Water supply.

The water supply at Vava'u, suffered mostly from power failure as most of the water pumps are worked by electricity. On Niua-Fo'ou, 6 community rain-water collection systems were damaged and urgently need repairing. Piping and gutters were mostly removed by the winds. Most of the outer villages had diesel engine pumps and were able to maintain the water supply in addition to rain water cement tanks which are mostly without gutters.

Locations for Proposed Response

The affected areas are located to the north of the main island, where the TNCC offices are situated. Most of the emergency relief will have to be either shipped by boat, which take one to two days, or air dropped by planes. The governors' office together with District Disaster Committees are working together with churches in the distribution of emergencies relief. TNCC's ecumenical partners on the islands are also assisting in the response. The Free Wesleyan Church, one of ACT partners is the majority church in Tonga and have provided assistance from headquarter in the islands. TNCC will concentrate its reconstruction assistance on Vava'u Island.

Most urgently need items

- Tarpaulins/tents for temporary shelters. Those whose dwellings have been damaged are residing with other families or with neighbors. It is estimated that 1,000 tents, 600 tarpaulins and 3,200 blankets are required for temporary shelter.

- To minimize risk of disease outbreak, there is urgent need for cleaning up the towns and villages and for the control of insects. Chlorine tablets are also required for treatment of water supplies.

- Temporary power and lighting - require portable generators to generate electricity for refrigeration and water systems.

- Eleven water systems were extensively damaged and urgently need repairing, (6 at Niuafo'ou and 5 at Vava'u).

- Food assistance is urgently required in Vava'u and Niuafo'ou. The current food supply is sufficient only for the next two to three weeks. The replanting of fast-maturing crops is is only expected to be harvested after 4 to 5 months.

- Temporary classrooms for the 15 completely destroyed and the 110 partially damaged.

Assistance provided todate

- The New Zealand and Australia Government were one of the first to provide temporary shelters - tarpaulins and tents.

- The Red Cross Tonga also arrived no the spot with tents and food.

- Three consignments of food and seedlings donated by NGOs, churches and individuals were shipped on 15, 17 and 29 January.

- A large consignment of food aid from French Polynesia arrived on 4 February. They also plan to help building most of the government schools that have been damaged.

- The World Health Organisation (WHO) is assisting with purification of water, insecticides, improvement of dump sites and toilet facilities in the affected areas.

- Canada TANGO will help with the rehabilitation of two church schools.

- Churches have been fully prepared to provide food assistance (local food as well as imported items from local stores) for a period of 6 months and, together with some other NGOs, villages and individuals have already sent their first consignment. They are also supporting local initiatives in raising funds from other areas to help with the rehabilitation stage. Churches are also considering subsidising school fees for a year for families of affected areas.

Whenever possible, families and churches have already taken care of the immediate repair to damaged buildings, but others belonging to the poorer sections, depend on assistance to do so.

Tonga Association for Non Government Organization, of which the Tonga National Council of Churches is a member, is currently involved in facilitating rehabilitation work under Canada Aid to two of the damaged church schools; Tailulu College and Mailefihi Siulikutapu. Caritas New Zealand together with TNCC's Ecumenical-Catholic Team will also be working in monitoring rehabilitation work to build 30 "hurricane proof' houses to replace those houses that were completely destroyed.

IV. GOAL & OBJECTIVES

TNCC sees the most need for assistance in the post crisis phase towards the reconstruction of houses for the most vulnerable, as emergency assistance is already being provided. NDMC rehabilitation will concentrate mostly on government schools and infrastructure.

Goal: The main goal is to provide hurricane proof dwelling for 30 of the most vulnerable poor families whose houses were completely destroyed by cyclone Waka.

Objective

  • To build 30 "hurricane proof" houses along with cement water tanks, for the most vulnerable families whose houses were completely destroyed.
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