Cyclone Ian

This appeal is no longer active. You are welcome to make a donation to our Disaster Response Fund to help in future emergencies.

Tropical Cyclone Ian has ripped through the Ha'apai islands in Tonga, destroying buildings and homes. A state of emergency was declared. 

Oxfam New Zealand launched a three pronged response to Cyclone Ian: enabling access to safe water, ensuring sanitation needs are met and recovering people's livelihoods - their means of earning a living and supporting themselves and their families.


Clean and  safe water is essential to prevent diseases like cholera, typhoid and diarrhoea from breaking out.

Two desalination units and a generator were flown from New Zealand to Kauvai island in the Ha'apai chain along with a specialist water engingeer who set up the units and trained a group of local people on how to use them. The desalination units turn seawater into drinking water and each unit is capable of converting 240 litres of seawater to drinking water, per hour. In the remote, outer island of Mo’unga’one villagers came rushing out to collect water when the units arrived – they had none left.

Oxfam and our partner in Tonga, a local community development agency called Tonga National Youth Congress (TNYC) continue to monitor water from the desalination units and provide regular testing to make sure water quality is fit for drinking and preparing food. It is currently the wet season in Tonga, but a drought is forecast for the next two months. Over this period, the desalination units will be moved to areas where they are most needed.


Oxfam distributed 140 sanitation kits containing toothpaste, toothbrushes, nappies, water jug, washing and cooking bowls, sanitary pads, soap, Dettol and mosquito coils. We also ran health promotion workshops to stop the spread of disease and will be providing toilets and waste management systems.


A strong component of our emergency response work is building communities back better and stronger than they were before the cyclone hit. This includes planting resilient crops like saltwater-resistant taro and creating communal nurseries that are ready to be planted and shared by whole communities immediately after a disaster strikes – which means food will be ready to harvest just a month later, and planting trees and mangroves in coastal areas to avoid coastal erosion and protect houses, land and gardens.

Fishing nets were distributed across Kuavai and training in organic weed management, composting and organic fertilisers will begin soon to enable farmers to regrow their lost crops. Oxfam's reponse team is working closely with TNYC on seedling preparation and distributing platning materials for small farmers. Farming tools will also be distributed.

TNYC is rebuilding three virgin coconut oil sites that were damaged by the cyclone. It's here where local coconuts are transformed into high grade, export quality coconut oil that generates a vital income for villagers.

This is a crucial time to support our Tongan neighbours.

Please donate now.