20 Jan 2014

Repairing hospital and schools a focus in cyclone-hit Ha'apai, Tonga

2:09 pm on 20 January 2014

The CEO of the Infrastructure Ministry in Tonga says a week on from Cyclone Ian, it is focussing on fixing the damaged hospital and schools in Ha'apai.

The category five storm, which killed one person and injured 14 others, displaced more than half the population of 8,000.

Ringo Faoliu says the army is in the process of transporting construction materials to Ha'apai and begin repairing the damaged hospital wing.

He says its other priority is restoring power and repairing the 13 out of 17 primary and secondary schools before children are expected back in two weeks.

"There's a team from the local power board, they are trying to get the electricity or the power back into schools and the hospital as a core focus right now. What we've done is get some construction materials to Ha'apai as well. Right now they are working on what has been effected on the hospital, especially on the roofing, to ensure that essential services are already there in place."

Ringo Faoliu says the economic costs of the cyclone are not yet known, but a better picture of the damage will be clearer by the end of the week when members of the World Bank come to assess the damage.