If you would like to help with the cyclone appeal, please contact us
It has been three months since Tonga was hit by category five Tropical Cyclone Ian, and many people are still living in tents or makeshift homes.
When the storm struck in early January it displaced half of the population.
The people of Faleloa village, near the northern tip of Foa Island, are among those still painstakingly picking up the pieces of community life.
Last weekend’s was only the second service at their Church Of Tonga since the cyclone. It was rebuilt by the minister and his two sons. His wife Alice Akau says he is yet to start on their home, but the church came first to lift locals’ spirits.
The tropical cyclone brought winds of up to 280km/h. One person was killed and thousands were displaced, and the evidence of destruction in Faleloa is everywhere – homes are still in ruin.
Boris Stavenow from Sandy Beach holds increasing concern for locals in the area.
But these are not even the most remote parts of Tonga. A two-hour boat ride away is Mo’unga’one Island, the worst hit of all the islands and with a population of just 91.
Resident Matoto Mosa’ati says his house was totally blown away by the cyclone, and afterwards he collected all the pieces to make the little house that he lives in with his wife.
The New Zealand Government contributed $2.27 million in aid after the cyclone, but the Governor of Ha’apai, Tu’i Ha’angana, says more help is needed.
“I think [for] all those things for the reconstruction and everything like that we need assistance especially from internationals,” he says.
For Alice Akau and her family, help could mean a home. But until then prayers will continue in their church built with little more than faith.