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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, February 15, 2010

Tongans in Hawaii planning relief efforts in wake of tropical cyclone

Advertiser Staff

Tongans in Hawaiçi say they’re planning donation drives to help relatives and friends in the island nation in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Rene.

They hope to start collecting money and supplies by the end of the week.
The storm battered Tonga overnight, causing widespread damage. So far, though, no deaths have been reported.
Tongans locally say they are slowly getting through to their relatives and friends, though communication is still difficult because phone lines are down.
“Some people have gotten through with text message,” said Ema Arelliano, a member of the First Tongan United Methodist Church of Waimanalo.
Arelliano said “it’s a relief” that there are no reports of deaths.
But she added that news is still coming in.
“We’ll just have to wait and see,” she said.
Rev. Eddie Kelemeni, of the First United Methodist Church on Beretania, said Tongans in Hawaiçi are eager to pitch in to help their homeland, and will start coordinating relief efforts soon — “as we find out what’s going on.”