25 Aug 2014

Tonga to share cyclone lessons at SIDS

8:03 pm on 25 August 2014

Tonga's Meteorological Service says it will share what it learned from January's destructive Cyclone Ian at the Small Islands Developing States conference in Apia next week.

As part of the "Small Islands, Weather Together" campaign, small states are looking to collaborate to deal with extreme weather events.

Cyclone damage in the town of Pangai in January.

Cyclone damage in the town of Pangai in January. Photo: AFP / RNZAF

The Tonga met service director, Ofa Fa'anunu, says the costs of monitoring weather are beyond the capabilities of most small island states.

"Things like radars for tropical cyclones and flood monitoring are not availiable, tsunamis are becoming an issue for us, equipment for detecting early warning are just not there. That is our biggest challenge, being able to monitor what's actually happening. Meteorological services need to be upgraded."

Ofa Fa'anunu says longer-term donor partnerships for projects are also needed, as most last for just three years.