Makaha’a planting project shows positive signs

Makaha‘a Island is an island located in Tongatapu and the estimated terrain elevation above sea level is -9999 metres.

Coconut and coastal plants planted a year by the Environment Mangroves and Terrestrial team are now growing.

Members from both departments went to the Island to inspect the plants.

Team leader Hoifua Aholahi said this is encouraging as the team works on using the project as a trial to help manage sand erosion.


Passenger with measles travelled between Auckland and Tonga

The Auckland Regional Public Health Service is warning passengers should be vigilant for symptoms of the highly-infectious disease.

The passenger departed Auckland for Nuku'alofa at 8.30am on Monday, returning at 12.30pm on Wednesday.

Medical Officer of Health Maria Poynter said passengers who were unsure about their immunity should check with their doctor or call Healthline for advice.

She says passengers not immunised, pregnant, living with a weakened immune system or under 12 months old should see their doctor urgently.

Tonga’s environment department rolls out 2020 work plans

The management staff and heads of divisions met Wednesday to discuss new plans for the year 2020.

Chaired by Director, Atelaite Lupe Matoto, the 'Retreat and Planning' meeting looked at the department's different projects and programme for the year, plus budgets allocated for the different projects and programs.

The department is under the Ministry of MEIDECC and is tasked with managing and policing Tonga's environment, in partnership with all government, non-government, community and overseas stakeholders and partners.


TC Tino leaves behind damaged roads and landslides in Ha’apai

The National Emergency Management Committee (NEMC) has confirmed that  survey and assessment teams are being sent out to the outer islands of Ha’apai, Vava’u, Niuatoputapu and Niuafo’ou to assess damage caused by Cyclone Tino.

Prime Minister Dr Pohiva Tu’ionetoa and his delegation, including the Minister for MEIDECC, Poasi Tei were on Ha’apai earlier today to view first hand damage left behind by the category 2 cyclone.

Effective outbreak response reduces the risk of measles spread in the Pacific

For Samoa, the country experienced a widescale measles outbreak which had significant impact upon the country’s population and health system.

The disease has cost lives, with infants and young children being most affected.

In response to the identification of measles in the region, many Pacific countries and areas have made serious efforts to close immunity gaps in their population and strengthen infectious disease prevention, surveillance and response systems.

Claim 'China speaks for Tonga' at UN criticised

That comes after Tonga lost its right to vote because of outstanding fees.

Those fees have since been repaid with Tonga's chief secretary, Edgar Cocker, saying there had been an administrative glitch.

At a Chinese reception in Nuku'alofa last week, new Chinese ambassador Cao Xiaolin gave a speech claiming - as a permanent member of the UN Security Council - that "China speaks for Tonga and other developing countries with a view to safeguarding our common interests".

No deaths or injuries from Tino, says Minister

Mr Tei, while chairing the National Emergency Management Committee (NEMC) this morning at the National Emergency Management Office (NEMO) said the updates from Ha’apai and Vava’u confirmed this.
The two islands suffered the most from category 3 Cyclone Tino, which went through the Kingdom yesterday and this morning.
“That is great news,” Mr Tei said.
“That no one was injured and there was no casuality from the cyclone. We are grateful to all those who worked around the clock to help prepare the people for the cyclone and for them to take action accordingly.”

9 new measles cases reported in Tonga

Six of the new cases are in Tongatapu.

The ministry said as of 16 January, there are 639 confirmed or suspected cases including 52 laboratory confirmed cases.

There are no fatalities reported.

Majority of the cases have been managed by home isolation.

According to the ministry, at least 99 per cent of the 639 reported measles cases will have recovered from their illnesses.

Young people continue to form the majority of the cases in the outbreak.

Young people aged 10 to 24 years made 78 per cent of the cases.

Roads and crops damaged in Tonga by Cyclone Tino

The storm brought winds of up to 180 km/hr and torrential rain but it had weakened and moved out of the area and cyclone warnings had now ceased.

There had been no reported casualties or deaths from the storm but many areas in Ha'apai remained without power today.

Ha'apai MP Veivosa Taka said the main priority was getting power restored.

"First to connect the electrics; second, advice for the people to recover the crops, ( all the crops are damaged); and also to fix the main roads," he said.

Tonga's main island spared full strength of Tino

The storm was expected to pass directly over Tongatapu overnight with the capital, Nuku'alofa on track to take a direct hit, instead the cyclone just passed to the North of Tongatapu without its high winds and heavy rain.

But the northern Tongan groups of Vava'u and Ha'apai were being hammered by destructive storm force winds and torrential downpours, with gusts estimated at 180km/hr yesterday.