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Safe shelters a priority in the rebuilding following tropical cyclone Gita

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 07/05/2018

In the rebuilding process following a natural disaster, it is paramount to ensure that the structures built are safe and are able to withstand future natural disasters.

This is the purpose of a training program hosted by Caritas Tonga in cooperation with Habitat for Humanity.

This a part of their aid program in the rebuilding process following Tropical Cyclone Gita.

The training program – Participatory Approach for Safe Shelter Awareness, is aimed at ensuring the renovations and rebuilding projects following the cyclone, are structurally sound.

The International Programs Manager of Habitat for Humanity NZ – Lou Maea, says this training will benefit the participants, who are representatives from various organizations and partners in the Shelter Cluster, in improving the rebuilding process.

“What’s different about PASSA is that it’s community driven. So the whole idea of PASSA is to get the communities to identify what their issues are locally and also participate in their solutions. So it’s a program that is about resilience and preparedness,” he said.

Maea says, months on from Gita, there are still people who have received no help or there are people who need more help, but in regard to the rebuilding of damaged homes, it is important to deliver assistance to those in need as there can be more damage caused if homes are re-built without the proper materials.

“We recognize that when people help themselves, quite often, it’s not using the latest and safest techniques. So the issue about building back safer, aren’t always at the forefront when somebody wants to cover their roof, and so we call it build back better or build back safer. To be truthful, a lot of it is build back bad, so that’s a big challenge, is actually getting the program so people have the knowledge to build back better, later on,” he said.

With the completion of this training program, the Caritas Tonga and Habitat for Humanity aid in the rebuilding of homes, will then begin next week. They aim to assist 300 homes in 20 villages which were most damaged from the cyclone.

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