7 Mar 2019

Japan helps Tonga become better prepared for disasters

7:09 pm on 7 March 2019

Tonga is installing a new disaster early warning system within the next few months after the Japanese government confirmed it will fund the project.

No caption

The effects of Cyclone Gita in Tonga Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

The Japan International Cooperation Agency will install the disaster communications system known as NEWS for the whole of Tonga including the two Niuas.

The project includes radio communications for disaster-focussed agencies, early warning sirens, loud speakers and remote activated radios.

Improvements to Tonga's AM broadcasting service, and training for the disaster office and met service are also part of the plan.

Tonga's Minister for the Environment Poasi Tei said the help is timely given that Tonga is second most-at-risk country in the world for natural disasters.

He cited Polynesia's 2009 earthquake and tsunami, and last year's Cyclone Gita, as examples of devastating disasters endured by Tonga, saying the Japanese project will help save lives.