28 Jan 2011

Tonga's Red Cross increases help to storm damaged Ha'apai islands

2:41 pm on 28 January 2011

The Red Cross in Tonga says it's sending more emergency aid supplies from Nukualofa this weekend to the Ha'apai islands damaged by Cyclone Wilma.

The Red Cross will distribute more family kits consisting of basic food, clothes, towels and toiletries, as well as blankets, medicines and tarpaulins, to people in need.

The organisation is using army boats deployed to help with recovery efforts to distribute aid.

A field officer, Kato Latavao, says the water damage on the low lying islands is extensive and one challenge has been trying to get around the islands.

"That the main difficulty there, is going from the mainland to the outer islands, they have to go by boat. And not only that, even with the communication. Thats one of the problems, communication breakdown. But we're very lucky, the Red Cross, we have our sat[ellite] phone, and that's how we [keep in] contact."

A Tonga Red Cross field officer, Kato Latavao.