Prime Minister Lord Tu'ivakano, addresses nation in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Jasmine
17 February 2012 The Prime Minister of Tonga, Lord Tu'ivakano addressed the nation today offering words of encouragement and hopes to all the people in Tonga especially those who have been affected by the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Jasmine, which hit Tonga on February 14.
Reports have gathered that heavy downpours of rain have flooded many low-lying areas in Tongatapu, which was evident in the worst-hit village districts of Kolomotu'a, particularly in the Tongata'eapa, Sopu and Hala'ovave areas. Other affected parts of Nuku'alofa, around the Fasi-moe-afi and Ma'ufanga districts, included the villages of Houmakelikalo and Popua areas.
Damages being assessed were due mainly to the flooding of low-lying areas with the accelerated water level affecting water drainages, water supplies and sanitary systems including septic tanks.
The damages and destructions to property also included broken-down electrical pole network and telephone systems being disrupted.
In the midst of this natural disaster, the Lord Prime Minister acknowledges the valuable cooperation and effective coordination of all emergency assistance departments, including the Ministry of Police, who responded to the emergency calls from the stranded shipping vessels, which in turn saved lives on that day.
The Ministry of Defence and the Tonga Defence Services played a major part in road clearance operations and emergency evacuation of affected families from their flooded homes to emergency shelters.
The Prime Minister also commented on the exceptional and continued efforts made by the Tonga Meteorological Unit, in their role of providing up-to-date cyclone information and emergency preparedness advisory on the clock, during the tropical cyclone.
Other Emergency Services including the Tonga Power Ltd and Tonga Water Board were also being acknowledged for their vital role in providing safe utility services to the community during the cyclone.
The Prime Minister also thanked Government Ministries and Departments such as the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and especially the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), in their timely response and assistance.
The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), which is chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Samiu Vaipulu, have played a major role in the emergency response and disaster management operations.
In such instances, Government vehicles have been on stand-by for transport needs, emergency power has been organizaed for some of the remote locations, particularly for health centres in those areas.
In his statement, the Prime Minister was pleased with the level of preparedness and readiness of the countries telecommunications sub-committee, which have mobilized additional portable radios for emergency communications,
Nevertheless, the efforts of volunteers from the Tonga Red Cross, Community town halls, organized by town and district officers and church leaders also played a major part in the provision of emergency supplies, shelters, food and basic needs for those whose homes were flooded.
The Prime Minister announced that His Majesty's Cabinet have approved the emergency plans recommended by the Disaster Committees to find solutions to alleviate problems with water drainages and roads in low-lying areas which were affected heavily by flooding during Cyclone Jasmine.
The Government is working on upgrading its Tropical Cyclone Warming Systems and to setup cyclone radar machines to better enhance the forecasting and monitor the passage of cyclones and better issue cyclone preparedness for Tonga more effectively.
Issued by the: Ministry of Information and Communications, Nuku'alofa, 2012. Translated script of the Statement made by the Prime Minister, Lord Tu'ivakano in addressing the nation in the aftermath of Cyclone Jasmine.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 21 February 2012 16:24 )