Tongan personnel returns from Fiji, farewelled with a hāʻunga

The people of Vanua Balavu in the Lau Group in Fiji presented a hāʻunga (baked food normally and formally presented as a welcome) to the Tongan team who brought tons of relief supplies to the island before they left for the kingdom last week.

The hāʻunga was presented with  a puaka toho (big hog) and followed with a formal speech by the matāpule who represented the locals.

A Tongan navy boat arrived in Fiji at the end of February to help the international recovery effort carried out in the country following the devastating Cyclone Winston which slammed into the group killing at least 44 people and left about a billion dollar worth of destruction.

Following the disaster Tongan authority contacted the Fijian government to offer their supports and helps.

Tonga was told to send its assistance to Vanua Balavu in the Lau Group.

The VOEA Pangai arrived in the island with relief supplies including 12 tons of food, 2000 litres of water, 200 tents, tarpaulins and other relief items.

Vanua 5
His Majesties Armed Forces, the National Emergency Management personneland officers from Tonga Red Cross Society worked tirelessly in clearing of debris, reconstructionof transitional sheltersas part of the immediate relief for the affected population of Vanuabalavu, Fiji.

It followed with the arrival of the VOEA Late with further loads of relief supplies donated by the National Emergency and Management Centre (NEMO), Tonga Red Cross Society and the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga (FWC).

The emergency relief supplies included food, water and shelter kits.

The FWC sent their relief supply assistances to the Tongan pastor who was in charge of the FWC congregation in the island.

The two boats also support the Government of Fiji with assessments in the outer islands as well as supporting to aid the distributions of relief items to the most affected population all over Fiji.
The two boats also support the Government of Fiji with assessments in the outer islands as well as supporting to aid the distributions of relief items to the most affected population all over Fiji.

A statement from NEMO said the Tongan national emergency body “acknowledged the help provided by the local people in appreciation of the support from the people of the Government of Tonga”.

“Further, the Vanua Balavu locals held a formal ceremony to farewell the team with presentation of the ‘ha’unga’ to show their gratitude to the operation team from Tonga”.

Vanua Balavu is the third largest island in the Lau archipelago and majority of the locals are of Tongan origins.

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