2 Nov 2017

Tonga to hold first tsunami drill on Friday

7:23 am on 2 November 2017

Tongans will be asked to listen out for sirens and emergency alerts on Friday as the country conducts its first national tsunami drill.

No caption

Tsunami evacuation route sign Photo: RNZI / Koro Vaka'uta

The drill will span the entire country sometime between 9am and 3pm local time.

Authorities said the element of surprise would be maintained in order to carry out the evacuation exercise as close to a real event as possible.

An alert warning will be sent out by local Meteorological Services for a magnitude nine earthquake centred at the Tonga Trench, which is expected to produce a series of tsunamis.

The director of the Emergency Management Office, Leveni 'Aho, said the exercise was not compulsory but people would be encouraged to reach four marked evacuation zones.

"The whole idea of this exercise is try to educate the people because the vulnerability of Tonga is quite high and that is why we are trying to do this but at the same time we are also concerned about the security as well."

Leveni 'Aho said a security taskforce would be set up to monitor the Nuku'alofa area during the exercise.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs