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Rallying support for Tonga

Posted: 11am 21 Jan 2022

Former Moreton Bay Regional Councillor Koliana Winchester has set up a Red Cross fundraising page in a bid to help the organisation provide humanitarian aid to the people of Tonga.

It follows a 5.8 magnitude volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami, which devastated many communities across the South Pacific island kingdom on January 15.

Koliana grew up in Tonga and has two sisters and extended family still living there. She has not been able to reach them since the disaster struck, because communications are down, and is hoping they are safe.

She aims to raise $2500 to “ensure the Red Cross Movement can be there to provide humanitarian support to people and communities affected by the Tonga volcanic eruption and tsunami”.

“Tonga needs our help right now and I've created this fundraising page to gather support from across our Moreton Bay community,” Koliana says.

“I set the page up yesterday. A lot of people got in touch with me to see how they could donate. With COVID, I couldn’t do what I would normally do (organise a fundraising event).

“I know it’s a very tough time for the community here as well, with COVID, that’s why I put up that (modest) amount and hopefully I can reach that target.”

Koliana says collecting and delivering goods is difficult at present and the best way to help is to donate money via the Red Cross.

“It will help them to continue to deliver aid and do what they can to help those who have been affected,” she says.

“In the immediate relief phase, this support will include support to access clean drinking water, and materials to help repair homes.”

She has lived in Tonga during tropical cyclones but can’t imagine what it was like for people when the eruption and tsunami struck.

“When I was watching this unfold, I thought this is the worst ever… especially the ash,” she says.

If you would like to donate, visit the fundraising page

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