Ref: DHAGVA - 97/0126
APPEAL FOR INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE
1. The DHA South Pacific Programme Office (SPPO) reports that the Acting Prime Minister of Tonga convened a meeting of donors this afternoon, where an official request for international assistance in support of the relief operation was presented. Priority areas for assistance identified by the Government are: shelter, restoration of community water supplies, restoration of power and repairs to schools. A detailed official damage report estimates the total damage caused by Cyclone Hina at Tongan dollars (TD) 18.3 million (USD 14.5 million).
DISASTER IMPACT AND PRIORITY ASSISTANCE NEEDS
2. Temporary shelter: 320 families have lost their homes with a further 328 suffering partial damage to their dwellings and requiring shelter. 320 tents, 328 tarpaulins and 1,500 blankets are the major need within this sector.
3. Health and sanitation: Water supplies have been severely affected. The major problems appear to be related to power failures. Overhead tanks in three villages have been destroyed. Stagnant water in many villages has been identified as the greatest risk to health. The situation is aggravated by domestic rubbish building up around villages. Eleven diesel generators - 10 (5kw) and 1 (20kw) - are required as well as 3 overhead tanks and stands for community water supplies.
4. Electricity and telecommunications: Extensive damage was caused to power supplies in Tongatapu and 'Eua. The Tonga Electricity and Power Board estimates the total cost of repairs at USD 873,000. The lack of heavy equipment and supplies is slowing down the repair works. Damage to 30 per cent of the telephone system on Tongatapu and 'Eua is estimated at USD 357,000.
5. Schools and government buildings: Five schools have been closed until temporary shelter can be provided. Fourteen schools are in need of repair works. Several other schools have resumed classes following temporary repairs to roofs and walls. According to the Ministry of Education, USD 2.3 million will be required for repair and reconstruction of school buildings.
The parliament buildings have been severely damaged, as has the Chief Justice's office, a stadium and a number of public halls.
6. Agriculture: Extensive damage has occurred to fruit and breadfruit trees, with 80 per cent of cassava and banana seriously damaged. Root crops such as taro, yam, kumala and kape have been damaged by salt water. Preliminary estimates are that damage has exceeded USD 5.1 million, however a more detailed assessment of the agriculture sector is required. No food rations will be issued pending the outcome of this assessment.
NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE
7. The Tongan Government has initiated emergency funding of 5 per cent of its national budget to facilitate immediate start of emergency relief and repairs to essential services (TD 5 million - USD 3.97 million).
8. The Acting Prime Minister has requested if donors can review existing or proposed bilateral programmes to see if they can be adjusted or brought forward to cater for the repairs or rebuilding of schools and other government buildings.
9. The Government of New Zealand has made an initial offer to support the electricity board with New Zealand based teams for the restoration of power lines.
10. The Government of the United Kingdom granted PDS STLG 30,000 (USD 48,000) for ten emergency generators.
11. The Government of China has pledged USD 30,000.
12. Other donors have indicated that they are considering support. An informal donor coordination mechanism has been established and a further donor meeting is planned for next week.
13. DHA is prepared to serve as a channel for cash contributions, to be used during the immediate relief phase, in coordination/consultation with relevant organizations of the United Nations system. DHA provides donors with written confirmation and pertinent details concerning the utilization of the funds contributed.
14. Donors wishing to channel their contributions through DHA should transfer funds to DHA account no. CO.590.160.1 at the Swiss Bank Corporation, Case Postale 2770, CH-1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland, with reference: Tonga - Cyclone Hina, DHA Geneva.
15. For coordination purposes, donors are requested to inform DHA Geneva, as indicated below, of relief missions/ pledges /contributions and their corresponding values by item.
Telephone number: +41-22-917-1234
In case of emergency only: tel. +41-22-917-2010
Desk Officer: Ms. S. Metzner-Strack,
direct tel. +41-22- 917-2144/3200
Press to contact: Ms. M. Moulin-Acevedo,
direct tel. +41- 22-917-2856
Telex: 414242 dha ch
E-mail: dhagva at dha.unicc.org
DEPARTMENT OF HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS