Lupe Tatola

Lupe Tatola


I am a 67 year old widow from Talasiu. I live with my only daughter, her husband and their 3 children. Our house was completely destroyed and right now we urgently need a tent because we are just using tarpaulins as shelter.

We live right along the lagoon and so we knew when we heard the warning on the radio that our house was going to be affected. We decided as a family to evacuate to the local LDS church.

The night of the cyclone was so scary. I remember fearing for our lives especially because we live near the water and I was so worried about the safety of my grandchildren. It was a sleepless night.

Right the next morning, I remember it was still dark when we came out to check on the house, everything was gone. The top floor had crashed right down onto the ground floor. All we saw was debris and the ocean from the other side. Trees has been uprooted and there were broken branches and power lines everywhere. Most of our belongings had been destroyed by the cyclone. We just thank the Almighty God that no one lost their life.


I was just thankful the cyclone was over because I didn’t want my grandchildren to be scared any longer. I was also extremely thankful that none of them were hurt. My entire focus now is making sure my grandchildren return to normal as soon as possible.

We have received a tarpaulin from the NEMO distribution but it wasn’t enough to provide emergency shelter for 3 adults and 3 children. Our entire house was destroyed and the tarpaulins unfortunately cannot not block out the rain coming in from the sides.

We stay under the tarpaulin and we also sleep there. But when it rains we all squeeze into the little cement house right next to our house and sleep there, however, we can’t lie down so we all just sit up and sleep that way.

We are scared to stay there because it’s not safe. But we have no choice. It was also Damaged by the cyclone and we can see cracks all over on the wall and the ceiling.

We have received food donations from LDS, and we thank all those people who have helped us since the cyclone, we are very thankful indeed.

What we urgently need at the moment is a tent so we can all live safely in there and be protected from the heat and the rain.

We also really need food and water.

*Lupe’s story was documented in early March


Note: Raising RURAL WOMEN’S VOICES in Tonga post Cyclone Gita is a multimedia initiative that has been developed to coincide with CSW62. This is part of our bigger media campaign: ’This is My Story of Resilience’ which aims at raising the voices of women in various spaces.

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the key global intergovernmental body dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. The CSW promotes women’s rights, documents the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and shapes global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Each year, CSW organises discussions around key themes over a two-week period. This year, the 62nd CSW session has adopted the following themes:

  • CSW62 Priority Theme: Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls.
  • Review Theme: Participation in and access of women to the media, and information and communications technologies and their impact on and use as an instrument for the advancement and empowerment of women.



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