Reporting period: 11 – 13 January 2014
Tropical Cyclone Ian (varying between Categories 4 and 5, including winds of up to 240 km/hr) passed through the Kingdom of Tonga on 11 January 2014. The Tonga Prime Minister declared a state of emergency for Vava’u and Ha’apai Divisions on 11 January 2014. However, the Government has not yet decided on whether to request international assistance in addition to the already-in-place assistance from IFRC and the New Zealand Navy.
Approximately 21,540 people live in the emergency areas, of which IFRC’s preliminary estimate is that 5,000 people are affected, of which about 2,000 are displaced into temporary shelters, including eleven official evacuation sites.
OCHA and Pacific Humanitarian Team members (including UNICEF) have been and remain in frequent contact with the Tonga National Emergency Management Office (NEMO) as well as others in Tonga, and staff was deployed by OCHA and IFRC. The New Zealand Navy and Air Force were first responders supporting the Government. Extensive aerial surveillance photos by the NZ Navy, along with reporting by government and civilians forms the basis for current response plans.
Major initial needs are for shelter, food, water, hygiene kits. Tonga Red Cross has deployed trained rapid assessment teams to the worst affected Divisions of Vava’u and Ha’apai.
Pacific Humanitarian Team (PHT) members agreed to support a joint PHT letter from the humanitarian coordinator to the government of Tonga, including offer to mobilize support from all clusters. In addition, the Governments of New Zealand and Australia have committed funds for the response, and several New Zealand NGOs are mobilizing support.
UNICEF Pacific will actively lead the Pacific Humanitarian WASH, Education, Health and Nutrition Cluster, and Child Protection in Emergencies Area of Responsibility in order to support Tonga government emergency response, and is preparing deployments of emergency supplies and staff as required. UNICEF Pacific is coordinating closely with UNICEF New Zealand and UNICEF Australia on communication and coordinated, potential support.