CARE on standby to respond as Cyclone Gita intensifies near Tonga

12 February 2018 - Cyclone Gita is intensifying to a possible category five storm – the most severe – as Tonga braces for the worst tropical cyclone to hit the region in almost two years.

A state of emergency has been declared in Tonga ahead of the storm, which is already packing winds of almost 200km/h and is predicted to pass directly over the capital Nuku-alofa. 

CARE Australia’s Emergency Response Manager Stefan Knollmayer said CARE was ready to mobilise specialist relief teams if needed and requested. He said:

We’re monitoring the cyclone closely with our local partners on the ground, and are on standby to provide further assistance if it’s required. With a storm this big, we have to prepare for the worst.

CARE’s partner agency in Tonga, Live and Learn, is helping communities likely to bear the brunt of the storm to prepare.

Taniela Hoponoa, Live and Learn’s Country Manager in Tonga, said:

We’re reminding people in the communities to stockpile food and water and to reinforce their homes before the storm hits. It’s also extremely important people listen to the advice from Tonga’s national emergency office and keep their radios and phones charged and nearby.

About CARE:

Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organisation fighting global poverty. CARE has more than seven decades of experience helping people prepare for disasters, providing lifesaving assistance when a crisis hits, and helping communities recover after the emergency has passed. CARE places special focus on women and children who are often disproportionately affected by disasters. Last year, CARE worked in 94 countries to reach 80 million people, including more than 11 million through emergency response and humanitarian aid. Learn more at  

Staff from CARE’s partner Live and Live are available in Tonga for interviews. Contact Sam Bolitho on 0419 567 777 to arrange.

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