16 September 2010. Press Release. The Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon Feleti Vaka'uta Sevele, today launched the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Fund to raise money for the victims of the earthquake that measured 7.1 on the Richter scale which struck the city of Christchurch in the Canterbury region of New Zealand in the early morning of Saturday, 4 September.
Although no one was killed as a direct result of the earthquake, hundreds of people are still living in temporary relief shelters in schools and community halls as well as in neighbour's and relative's homes as there had been major damage to housing in the region. Early estimates indicated that 100,000 out of 160,000 homes in the region were damaged by the earthquake.
The NZ Prime Minister, Hon John Key, has described the earthquake as, "... the most costly natural disaster New Zealand has ever experienced". NZ Government Treasury has estimated the damage caused by the earthquake at $4 billion, but expects it to rise significantly.
The Hon Prime Minister said, "The Government and the people of New Zealand are always amongst the first to come to our assistance in our time of need so I urge the people of Tonga to give generously to this appeal fund. I also appeal for the Tongan public's moral support and prayers for the people of Christchurch."
A committee has been established to coordinate the public fundraising. Amongst the activities planned are: a national radio-thon; public collection by school students; donation boxes at key public spots; fund-raising by Kava Clubs; collection plates by the Churches; donations by community organisations and business houses.
The funds raised by the Appeal will be donated to the Canterbury Earthquake Appeal Commission that has been established by authorities in Christchurch to receive all donations to support those affected by the earthquake.
Details of where donations to the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Fund can be deposited will be released shortly.
Issued by the: Prime Minister's Office, Nuku'alofa, 2010.