31 Jul 2006

Concern over lack of tsunami warning system in Tonga

5:47 am on 31 July 2006

Concern is being expressed about Tonga's possible vulnerability to tsunamis .

There have been over 800 earthquakes near Tonga in the first six months of 2006, following nearly 900 quakes in 2005.

But Matangi Tonga online says there is no system in place that can give Tongans rapid warning of a damaging wave.

The Principal Government Geologist at the Ministry of Lands and Survey, Kelepi Mafi, says there are no proper response procedures in place and it is possible there would be more deaths resulting from the evacuation process than from any tsunami.

Maliu Takai of the National Disaster unit says the committee is working on a tsunami response and evacuation plan.