18 Aug 2010

Building to get underway shortly for Tonga's tsunami victims

2:06 pm on 18 August 2010

Eighty-five new houses are to be built on higher ground on Tonga's Niuatoputapu following the destruction of coastal communities by the tsunami last September.

The tsunami, triggered by a powerful earthquake, claimed nine lives on Niuatoputapu, 143 in Samoa and 34 in American Samoa.

The manager of the Tonga Government's Tsunami Emergency Recovery and Management Project, Peni Vea, told Matangi Tonga online that no date has been confirmed but tenders will be called next month.

He also says they have finally settled the land issue for the relocation of the residents to higher ground at Hihifo, Vaipoa and Falehau.

But he says others have chosen to remain living on their land at the coastline.

Mr Vea says a group of surveyors from the Ministry of Lands is now surveying the land and should finish by the end of this month, and building could start before the end of the year.

The construction includes private housing, a hospital, a school compound and government offices.