Winston deals setback to Tonga's agricultural sector
The latest assessments by Tonga's National Emergency Management Office show the agriculture sector in the Vava'u district has suffered the worst impact by Cyclone Winston.
Assessments by Tonga's National Emergency Management Office show the agriculture sector in the Vava'u island group suffered the most damage when Cyclone Winston brushed past Tonga last week.
Winston passed to Vava'u's north twice last week before increasing in intensity and then hitting Fiji with destructive force.
Indira Moala has more.
Tonga's National Emergency Management Office director Leveni Aho says more than 230 homes were damaged by Winston in Tonga with 29 completely destroyed.
He says water supplies to four villages have been disrupted while several schools suffered damage to infrastructure and loss of materials due to water damage.
But the worst impact was on food crops.
LEVENI AHO: "Vava'u is known for vanilla plantations and also kava as well. And roughly there was about 85 percent reported damages to their fruit trees and 60 percent of root crops."
The Office of the Governer in Vava'u says locals are thankful the impact of Winston on them was not as great as feared.
Masina Talakai says everyone on the island was quick to help clean up the damage once Winston had left.
MASINA TALAKAI: "After the cyclone the town officers, the district officers, worked together with the people in the village to clean up. When the people from Nuku'alofa, when they came, the roads were cleared. Everything in Vava'u was so clean."
The Tongan community in New Zealand has begun to organise relief efforts for families in Vava'u.
The Pacific Leadership Forum met with members of the Fijian and Tongan community on Sunday night to determine what assistance is needed to help those affected by tropical cyclone Winston.
Tongan community leader Letele Tui Afitu-Tiseli, says while Fiji is the priority, people in Vava'u also need help.
She says the main priority is providing those who were affected in Vava'u, with water and food.
LETELE TUI AFITI-TISELI: "Some of the members they are having a dialogue to have some idea of whether they can get some containers and a drop-off area. Because for our people, it will be easier for them to donate food, like bag of sugar, flour, water."
Leveni Aho says it's the third cyclone threat Tonga has had since January and they are thankful they have so far escaped major damage.
LEVENI AHO: "In general it's very fortunate that the impact was less than what was originally anticipated but our heart feels for our colleagues in Fiji. But it was very fortunate. Everyone's been thankful that we suffered little but it could have been a lot worse."
The government is now working on getting aid and assistance to the families affected.
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