28 Jul 2014

Tonga defends cyclone relief

8:53 am on 28 July 2014

The deputy Prime Minister of Tonga is defending the government's relief work in Ha'apai following a tropical cyclone which displaced 5,000 people in January.

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Photo: RNZ

A Peoples Representative for Ha'apai, Mo'ale Finau, says residents do not have enough food and up to 200 families are still living in tents, six months after Cyclone Ian.

Samiu Vaipulu says construction of housing will begin next month.

He says the government is sending a team to Ha'apai this week to see if assistance is being used wisely, what more is needed for reconstruction, and if the people do in fact need more food.

Mr Vaipulu says he is pleased with the government's efforts.

"I've been in it from day one, some of the people that are complaining were never there, before 24 hours I was in Ha'apai already. The achievements the government has done for the past six months has been fantastic, it has been tremendous."

Samiu Vaipulu says a recent report shows only a quarter of people in Ha'apai used agricultural assistance the government sent following the cyclone.