WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

SSVdP provides support after Cyclone Gita

Many homes in Samoa lost their roofs in the Cyclone. Photo: Supplied

WelCom April 2018:

Mike Fitzsimons

The Society of St Vincent de Paul has stepped up with financial assistance to help Tonga and Samoa recover from the devastating impact of Cyclone Gita that tore through these Pacific Island nations in mid-February.

The Society has forwarded $10,000 to Tonga and $3000 to Samoa from its disaster-relief fund. Tonga’s needs are around health, hygiene and basic food needs. In Samoa the focus is on the repair of family homes.

‘We have been in contact with our National Presidents in Tonga and Samoa,’ says the Society’s Twinning Officer, Arthur Schultze. ‘They have kept us up to date with the areas where assistance is most needed.’

In Tonga, health and hygiene are the priority area for the Society. Funds are going towards items such as disinfectant, toilet paper, napkins, mosquito nets in response to an outbreak of dengue fever, water and basic food items. In Samoa the replacement of roofs on family homes and agricultural supplies – tools and seeds – has been the initial focus of support.

‘Prior to Cyclone Gita, two shipments of clothing and other basics were sent to Tonga and a further shipment was dispatched late February, which included clothing, bedding and canned food,’ said Arthur Schultze.

The Society in New Zealand has launched an appeal for funds through its Councils and Conferences to provide Tonga and Samoa with ongoing support. The Vinnies have also been having a ‘gold coin’ collection at many Catholic schools and food donations are being collected in Auckland schools.

The Society’s National Council of Australia has offered A$10,000 to assist with aid in Tonga.

If you would like to contribute funds to the SSVdP Appeal, please contact admin@svdp.org.nz or phone (04) 499-5075.