BETA

Tongans prepare for possible food shortage after cyclone

NUKU'ALOFA, Tonga — Cyclone Gita not only damaged or destroyed homes and other buildings in Tonga last month, but many gardens and community vegetable gardens were also ruined.

With family crops diminished and the possibility of food shortages in the coming weeks, His Royal Highness Prince Ata donated eight acres of cassava to assist communities and families.

Cassava is a root crop that many Tongans rely on as a staple food source.

The Church has secured the use of three refrigerated containers to be used to preserve harvested crops. One container was made available by local Latter-day Saint leader, Vili Harris, and the other two were provided by Dateline Transam Shipping Ltd. Tonga.

The crops will be distributed by local leaders to anyone in need over the coming weeks.

Prince Ata says that he has a responsibility to do all he can to make sure that “no one will go hungry during these hard times.”

“Tropical Cyclone Gita has damaged a majority of the crops,” Prince Ata continued, “so we will try and save what we can now and prepare for the coming months that are predicted to be a food shortage. I hope we can all help out, not only as members [of the Church] but as followers of our Savior Jesus Christ, to ‘feed His sheep.’ ”

Another Church leader, Fifita Taufa, was grateful for those who “donated their crops, time and efforts to help prepare for the future of our stake and anyone that will need assistance. We are always happy to help.”

The refrigerated containers are located in the Liahona area as well as in Ma’ufanga and Nualei.

The cost of operating the containers is being paid by LDS Charities, a humanitarian arm of the Church.