17 Jan 2014

UN travelling to Tonga to discuss cyclone relief

3:55 pm on 17 January 2014

The United Nations says it is travelling to Tonga on request of the Tongan government to discuss how it may help with relief following Cyclone Ian.

Until today, the Tongan government has not made any formal request for international help following the category-5 storm that struck last Saturday.

The UNOCHA humanitarian affairs officer, Greg Grimsich, says it contacted the Tongan government a week ago to offer support in water sanitation, health, safety and shelter.

Mr Grimsich says it received a letter today suggesting the offer of support has been recognised.

He says the UN Resident Coordinator is travelling to Tonga now to discuss the details.

"We have a lot of warehousing materials here in Suva that are available in water and sanitation, in educational tents and shelter, supplies as well, so we hope to have more clarity I would hope in the next 24 to 48 hours. And then can continue to help to mobilise that quite quickly if it is indeed requested by the government."

A UN humanitarian affairs officer, Greg Grimsich.