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Tropical Cyclone Waka hits Tonga 1/1/04

| <-- Tonga Diary | Toni's Tongatapu-Tour --> |

| Vava'u Report Of Cyclone Waka |

Waka Over The Kingdom Of Tonga

Monday 31.12.01
Tropical cyclone Waka hits Tonga the very first hours of the new year 2002.
We were in Tongatapu that night, took pictures and wrote about our impressions and about hurricane Waka in our
german diary.
Waka mainly hit the islands of Vava置, which are about a 50- minutes- flight away from Tongatapu, where we are at the moment. It seems that 70- 90% of the houses in Vava置 are destroyed or badly damaged. Communication and power supply broke down and are not re-established everywhere.
The following links seem to be a good starting point for more information about cyclone Waka (most of them dead and deleted by now):

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/storydisplay.cfm?storyID=584778&thesection=news&thesubsection=world

http://www.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/UNID/4EB5205E193CD15EC1256B3300510964?OpenDocument

Photos of the dammage cyclone Waka did on Vava置:
 
Silvester mit Waka auf Tonga

Tuesday, 22.01.02
Meantime we interviewed a couple of people having been on Vava置 that new year痴 night of hurricane Waka and wrote about their experiences in our German diary. The most impressive might be the one of a young couple finding shelter in their rainwater tank after Waka had destroyed their home.
Today we also received the first e-mail coming from Vava置 after the storm. We publish it here to give you an idea of the present situation at Vava置:

寧ust to give you all an update, most of the operators are more or less back in operation it took at least 4 days to get back into action with Beluga, Sunsail Yacht Charters and The Moorings Yacht Charters to rig together some sort of dock so we could place our boats somewhere.
The community is great the support that everyone gave to each was excellent, the first 5 days after Waka was the hardest days with the big clean up both on land and in the harbour.
New Years day was NOT a day to clean up everyone was shocked by the destruction of Waka, 75% of Vava'u was destroyed. New Years day for everyone was heart breaking, no one really had a proper New Years Day, everyone had been awake for more than 30 hours and the look on a lot of people's faces was very very sad. This Cyclone was a first time experience for a lot of people both locals and foreigners and it will be a cyclone, New Years Eve day and New Years day that no one will ever forget.
THE BIG CLEAN UP DAY'S
The day after New Years everyone and I mean everyone decided to clean up by starting on the main road getting rid of the trees, roofing, rubbish, etc and moving the power lines and telephone lines out of the way, it took at least 3 days to clean up the main road and then everyone concentrated on cleaning up their own surroundings and rebuilding again. Everyone kept a smile on their faces and kept on going, what else can we do but try to rebuild our beautiful Vava'u again. All in all it took at least a good 8 days to get everything clean again and I must tell you Shoreline Electricity and Tonga Communications were excellent they worked thru the nights and on Sunday's to restore everyone's Phone's and Electricity, they also did a great job.
Everyone is still cleaning and trying to rebuild their houses or company buildings the support that Vava'u got from Australia and New Zealand has been a great help and we've just heard that France is also sending Aid money to rebuild the schools and New Zealand has 800 volunteers to come and rebuild the schools, about 45 primary schools were destroyed and 1 High School which is Channel College.
ALL WE CAN SAY IS WE ALL SURVIVED WAKA AND NO ONE WAS HURT AND THAT'S WHAT COUNTS.
Once again, thank you everyone for your E-mail messages and your support.
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