In February 2018, Tropical Cyclone Gita brought devastating winds of more than 140 miles per hour and extensive flooding to the Kingdom of Tonga, causing widespread damage to the Pacific island nation. According to the Government of Tonga (GoT), the storm affected 75,000 people, or approximately 70 percent of Tonga’s population, with the storm damaging or destroying nearly 2,250 houses and resulting in $156 million in damage to crops and infrastructure on the worst-affected islands of ‘Eua and Tongatapu.
The authorities in Tonga are warning of a high likelihood of drought in the coming months.
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08th November, 2018 The Tonga National Council of Churches (TNCC) handed over the Tonga Community Disaster Risk Management Project (TCDRM) to the National Emergency Management Office (NEMO) under the Ministry of MEIDECC at the Dr Moulton’s Hall this afternoon.
The community based project was funded by the United States Agency of International Development (USAID) for the past five years aiming to reduce the impact of natural disasters on vulnerable communities.
08th November 2018 The Cabinet has endorsed the National Emergency Management Office (NEMO) under the Ministry of MEIDECC to conduct a national tsunami drill as part of the commemoration of the World Tsunami Day which is marked every year on November 5. The exercise is set for tomorrow November 9, 2018.
According to NEMO the drill preparations are currently underway and an alert warning issued by the Tonga Meteorological Service for a 9.0 Richter scale earthquake will be broadcasted on both AM and FM radio stations live tomorrow at 12:30pm.
The tropical cyclone (TC) activity expected in the 2018/19 Tropical Cyclone Season to affect Tonga is likely to be average to above average. This means that there is a 75% chance of at least 2 cyclones to occur during the cyclone season. And although historical records indicate there could be a low chance of severe tropical cyclones occurring this season, citizens are advised to expect the likelihood of at least 1 severe cyclone occurring due to climate variability brought about by global warning.
18th October 2018 The Department of Climate Change in cooperation with EU-GIZ ACSE and GCF Readiness Programme called into session its second installment of the National Climate Change Donor Roundtable, discussing Climate Change Initiatives in Tonga and its linkages to national, regional and international policy instruments as well as highlighting the close out of Joint National Action Plan 2010 -2015 (JNAP 1) and ushering in the implementation phase of JNAP 2018-2028 (JNAP 2).
The need to accelerate climate change adaptation and improve multi-hazard early warning systems to increase resilience to extreme weather took centre-stage at WMO’s Regional Association for Asia and the Pacific (RAV), hosted by Tonga from 15-17 October.
Pacific countries presented the status of progress in the development of their early warning systems as part of a three-year project entitled “Strengthening Hydro-meteorological and Early Warning Services in the Pacific”.
Representatives from Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu provided updates at a session in Tonga on progress and priorities.
A new tide gauge worth AUD $600,000 was officially commissioned yesterday at Tanoa International Dateline Hotel, the Prime Minister of Tonga Hon. Samuela ‘Akilisi Pohiva.
The new station at Vuna Wharf was built to withstand cyclone conditions and can last up to 20 years or longer with good maintenance. The equipement expected to record tides, weather and land movement.
Today on Vuna Wharf in the Tongan capital of Nukuʻalofa, the Honourable Prime Minister of Tonga Samiuela ‘Akilisi Pohiva officially commissioned a new Pacific Sea Level and Geodetic Monitoring station, which will provide high quality sea level, climate, and positioning information to support better coastal planning and preparedness.
11th October 2018 The Climate Resilience Sector Project (CRSP) under the Department of Climate Change (MEIDECC) and Women’s Affairs Division of MIA are jointly hosting a one-day workshop for strengthening community resilience to climate and disaster risk reduction (DRR) through women’s community governance structures, at Tungi Colonade Conference Room.
In the opening remarks CEO for MEIDECC Mr. Paula Pouvalu Ma’u stated that our island nation is under threat and the most vulnerable and first responders are women.]
A. SITUATION ANALYSIS
1. Description of the disaster
Tropical Cyclone Gita (TC Gita), a Category 4 system crossed Tonga between 12 and 13 February 2018 with average winds of 110 knots (285km/hour) close to the center, making it one of the worst cyclones to have ever hit the island nation in recorded history, has left a trail of damages to infrastructures and homes in Tongatapu (where the capital of the country Nukuʻalofa is situated) and ‘Eua.
26th September, 2018 An Emergency Medical Team (EMT) Country Preparedness Workshop commenced today at Tanoa International Dateline Hotel aimed in providing an opportunity for key country health and emergency services’ leaders to engage collectively and further strengthen the national capacity to respond to disaster emergencies and outbreaks including events that require the international emergencies teams.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) in collaboration with the World Health Organization are conducting the three-days’ workshop.
21st September 2018 A one-day workshop on TC Gita Emergency Preparedness and Response after Action Review was opened this morning at Tanoa International Dateline Hotel seeking to capture stakeholders’ perspectives on Disaster Risk Management arrangements regarding preparedness, warning, response and early recovery efforts from the cyclone.
The training is facilitated by the UNDP and organized by MEIDECC’s National Emergency Management Office.
A Deliberate Planning Conference on Disaster Planning and Preparedness was opened by the CEO for MEIDECC Mr. Paula Ma’u this morning at the Tanoa International Dateline Hotel. The four-day conference is jointly hosted by the National Emergency Management Office (NEMO), His Majesty’s Armed Forces (HMAF) and the Nevada National Guard.
12th September, 2018 The Government of Japan and the Government Primary School of Hofoa celebrated the completion of their new classroom building, funded through Japan’s Grant Assistance for Grass-Roots Human Security Projects, GGP on Friday 7 September, 2018.
When storms pass over the island of Tongatapu, Tonga there are no areas that are particularly protected, no big hills that might offer shelter from the prevailing wind.
Nauru, 04 September 2018- The European Union (EU) has today endorsed the mobilization of EUR 2 million (TOPS 5.3 million) to the Kingdom of Tonga to support recovery efforts following the significant damage caused by tropical cyclone Gita in February of this year.
“When the cyclone finally arrived, we were all huddled in the house. The cyclone strength was getting stronger and stronger, and the damages started in the kitchen.”
“The next morning, we saw the complete devastation in front of us. The roof was completely destroyed. All the doors and windows were completely damaged. The walls had collapsed because of the fallen roof. We all stood in shock, crying and holding on to each other,” recalls Sesalina Vaiangina, 45, of Makaunga, Tonga after Tropical Cyclone (TC) Gita devastated her island.