Pacific Humanitarian Team supports Tonga response plan

News and Press Release
Originally published


(Suva, 3 February 2014): The Pacific Humanitarian Team (PHT) has supported the development of the Tongan Government’s TOP 28.4 million (US$15.1 million) three-month response plan to provide response and early recovery assistance to the affected people of Ha’apai following Tropical Cyclone Ian.

Tropical Cyclone Ian struck the northeast islands of Ha’apai on 11 January, leaving one person dead, 3,500 people homeless and causing significant damage to houses, schools, infrastructure and agriculture across six islands. The plan will facilitate the coordination of immediate response and early recovery activities, with unmet funding totaling TOP 23.7 million (US$12.6 million).

“The plan sets out how humanitarian priorities will be addressed for the more than 5,000 affected people of Ha’apai to assist them in their recovery over the next three months,” said Osnat Lubrani, UN Resident Coordinator and co-chair of the PHT. “The plan has been developed by the Tongan Government with the support of PHT specialists and other humanitarian partners.”

Priority areas identified in the plan include shelter, water, food, education, and the safety and protection of vulnerable groups. In total, 89 activities have been outlined to address the needs of the affected population across 11 national clusters or sectors.

Sune Gudnitz, Head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the Pacific region, said the collaborative work of Government Ministries and the PHT to progress this plan has been a positive step forward for the affected people of Ha’apai.

“The response plan demonstrates how PHT partners can successfully support Government authorities in prioritizing needs across sectors in emergencies,” said Mr Gudnitz. “Eight PHT members deployed to Tonga and were involved in the plan’s development, including specialists in coordination, protection, early recovery, and water, sanitation and hygiene.”

The document will continue to evolve into a recovery and reconstruction plan as further needs are identified and refined through detailed assessments. The projected total funding requirements over the next 12 to 18 months, including the three-month response plan, is TOP 90.2 million (US$ 47.9 million), of which TOP 83.4 million (US$ 44.3 million) is unmet. The largest funding requirement is TOP 48 million (US$ 25.5 million) for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of 800 damaged and destroyed homes across Ha’apai.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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