Gisborne Mayor’s call to support Tonga
Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stoltz is urging Tairawhiti to rally behind the region's Pacific community “deeply affected” by Saturday's huge volcanic eruption and tsunami in Tonga.
Mayor Stoltz is calling on the community to support Tonga's recovery by donating to the Red Cross.
“The Tongan community in Tairāwhiti has been deeply affected by the event and we must do whatever we can to help in this time of need,” said Mayor Stoltz.
“With internet and phone still down, our people are still trying to contact loved ones in Tonga to make sure they are safe.
“Our thoughts and prayers right now are with the Tongan people, who are such an important part of who we are here in Tairāwhiti.
“I'm asking our whole community to give whatever they can by donating to the Red Cross Pacific Tsunami Appeal,” she said.
“Latest reports say that people in Tonga are in need of immediate assistance with fresh drinking water and food.
“As a community, we send our thoughts and prayers to everyone in Tonga. To our Gisborne Tongan community — know that we are standing right beside you in these extremely stressful times and that we are here to support you.
“Our Gisborne Tongan community is strong but they are hurting. Families cannot reach loved ones in Tonga to check on their welfare. I have spoken to our local Tongan leaders and they are humbled by the outpouring of support and aroha.
“Our GDC team have been working behind the scenes to set up a Disaster Relief Fund and all donations will be passed on to support relief efforts in Tonga. Details will be in the paper, on Facebook and on our GDC website.”
So far, reports say three people have been confirmed dead following the eruption at Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'pai and subsequent tsunami.
Yesterday. Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta said following the successful surveillance and reconnaissance flight of a New Zealand P-3K2 Orion on Monday, imagery and details had been sent to relevant authorities in Tonga, to aid in decisions about what support is most needed.
“However, images show ashfall on the Nuku'alofa airport runway that must be cleared before a C-130 Hercules flight with humanitarian assistance can land,” she said.
Two Royal New Zealand Navy ships are also on the way to Tonga to provide further relief.
The New Zealand Government has also allocated a further $500,000 in humanitarian assistance, taking the country's initial funding total to $1 million.
Donations can be made through Red Cross here https://tinyurl.com/2s3pj93h