Donated clothing needs transport
Palmerston North has plenty of donated clothing for victims of the cyclone in Tonga, but so far there is no way of getting it to them.
Lyal Brenton, the manager of Methodist Social Services Goodwill shops, said yesterday, after being approached by Wesley Church parishioner Havea Langoia, that he had a warehouse full of clothes and the volunteer resources to sort, select and pack them.
But the Tongan Methodist Church could distribute it.
"All we need is a way of getting it there. We have the goods, we're just not sure of how to go about it."
The two men are hoping that someone will allow them to piggy-back their clothing with someone else's shipment, or pick up the freight cost.
"We can drive it to a port like Napier if we need to," Mr Brenton said.
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said yesterday that New Zealand would provide further aid to the cyclone-ravaged country.
"Following a request from the Tonga Government, New Zealand will supply 300 emergency shelter kits, which can provide interim shelter to over 2000 people, and assist the New Zealand and Tongan Red Cross with the provision of clean water on the islands of Ha'apai," he said.
"We will also make a further $300,000 available to New Zealand non-government organisations working with partners on the ground."
He said this brought New Zealand's post-cyclone support to Tonga to $500,000.
Ana Tuivai, whose relatives in Tonga lost their home to the cyclone, was thrilled that New Zealanders were so willing to help.
"It's awesome," she said. "It just makes a big difference knowing that we are not the only ones wanting to help.
"I've been talking to a friend from down the road who saw the photo of my dad in the paper, and they are also asking what they can do," she said.
She said the Tongan church in Auckland had set up containers and was taking donations there, and the Tongan community in Palmerston North was also hoping to find a container to share.
"Once we find a container we can contact our Tongan community, and also Levin.
"There are a lot of us with family on the island, and we are just unsure what to do."
Mr McCully's announcement came after a diplomatic snub from Tonga, which held a ceremony to thank China for cyclone-related aid worth just T$10,000 (NZ$6400) but said nothing about greater aid from New Zealand and Australia.
Anyone able to help can phone Mr Brenton on 350 1464 or 027 478 3760. He can be emailed at email@example.com