Oxfam is on standby to respond to Cyclone Gita, as latest forecasts predict the storm could intensify up to a category 5 cyclone before affecting Tonga later tonight.
Up to 70% of the country’s population is at risk with the severe tropical cyclone expected to pass near the populated main islands of Tongatapu and ‘Eua. The storm’s impact may also be felt in the low-lying Ha’apai group, where damaging winds, rain and storm surge are likely.
With the country already addressing an outbreak of dengue fever in Tongatapu, the deterioration of sanitation conditions on the island could increase the risk of a second disaster due to the spread of dengue and other vector and water-borne diseases.
Oxfam stands ready to support the Tongan government, which may include mobilising local partners and other emergency personnel.
Oxfam, along with its partner the Tongan National Youth Congress (TNYC), has disaster preparedness programmes in Ha’apai and Vava’u. Oxfam is liaising with TNYC and the Tongan government to prepare for an appropriate and coordinated response.
Jane Foster, Oxfam’s country director for Tonga, says: “Once the urgent needs are assessed we are expecting to help coordinate the supply of clean water and sanitation for those affected by the disaster.
“Oxfam has a long-established presence in Tonga and Samoa and we have pre-positioned emergency supplies already in-country ready to be deployed should they be required.”
If you’d like to help us support those affected by disasters like Cyclone Gita, donate to our Disaster Response Fund.