Cyclone Ian has totally devastated the tiny island group of Ha'apai in Tonga. The Austrian Horst Berger lives there on the even tinier island of Uiha. Or, rather, he 'lived' there, past tense, because there won't be much left of his small hut which was right in the path of cyclone Ian. And what the 250km/hr cyclone didn't blow away, the storm surge would have washed away.
Just how big a catastrophe this worst-in-fifty-years cyclone has been won't be known for weeks, if not months, as all communications are down, including the postal service which is terribly slow and inefficient even at the best of times.
Horst mentioned in his last letter - which took two months to get here! - that he would be saving up for a set of dentures in the new year. They cost $500 which he simply hasn't got and I had already thought of taking up a collection for them.
However, after this cyclone, he'll need a lot more than just a pair of dentures: his hut will be gone as will be most, if not all, of his meagre belongings.
I don't know how many good-hearted and generous people are out there who may want to give Horst a bit of a hand and donate some money with which to finance the rebuilding of his hut. I hope there will be many.
I will collect all donations in my PayPal account and remit them to Horst via Western Union when communications have been re-established. You don't need your own PayPal account to make a donation. Simply go to the PayPal website and send your donation to my email address
It's quick and simple. I am sure that Horst will be thankful for every cent, not only because it will help him financially but also because it gives him much needed moral support to carry on.
All incoming donations will be recorded on this blog. My own contribution is already there:
Please email me if you have any problem with PayPal. And many thanks in advance for your generous help!