As Cyclone Gita Intensifies Near Tonga, CARE prepares to respond

As Cyclone Gita Intensifies Near Tonga, CARE prepares to respond

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NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga (Feb. 12, 2018) — As Cyclone Gita intensifies to a possible Category 5 storm, Pacific island Tonga braces for the worst tropical cyclone to hit the region in almost two years. And global humanitarian organization CARE readies its response.

A state of emergency has been declared ahead of the storm, which is already packing winds of almost 125 miles per hour and is projected to pass directly over the capital Nuku’alofa.

CARE’s Emergency Response Manager in Australia, Stefan Knollmayer, said CARE was ready to mobilize specialist relief teams if needed and requested.

“We’re monitoring the cyclone closely with our local partners on the ground, and are on standby to provide further assistance if it’s required,” Knollmayer said. “With a storm this big, we have to prepare for the worst.”

CARE’s partner agency in Tonga, Live and Learn, is helping prepare communities likely to bear the brunt of the storm.

“We’re reminding people in the communities to stockpile food and water and to reinforce their homes before the storm hits,” said Taniela Hoponoa, Live and Learn’s country manager in Tonga. “It’s also extremely important that people listen to the advice from Tonga’s national emergency office and keep their radios and phones charged and nearby.”

About CARE       

Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside women and girls because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. That’s why women and girls are at the heart of CARE’s community-based efforts to improve education and health, create economic opportunity, respond to emergencies and confront hunger. Last year CARE worked in 93 countries and reached 63 million people around the world. Learn more at

Media Contacts

Brian Feagans,; 404-979-9453

Nicole Harris,, 404-735-0871

Staff members from CARE's partner agency in Tonga, Live and Learn, prepare their office in Nukuʻalofa for the intensifying Cyclone Gita. (Taniela Hoponoa/CARE)