Cyclone Gita

Cyclone Gita forecasts delivered late - broadcaster says

Broadcasters in the territory normally get forecasts directly from the National Weather Service.

However, the protocol changes once the Emergency Operations Centre is activated, with all forecasts issued to radio and television stations from the centre.

Southseas Broadcasting general manager Joey Cummings said Gita forecasts issued in the morning often did not reach his station until the afternoon.

Tonga says school delays not the fault of the World Bank

A number of schools on Tongatapu, badly battered by Cyclone Gita in February last year, are still waiting on repairs to be done.

Government spokesman, Lopeti Senituli, told RNZ Pacific last week that the delays were not the fault of the government but the World Bank and other multilateral agencies.

Now the government, in a statement, said the funds for school reconstruction are administered by the government, in accordance with World Bank policies.

Funding of approximately $US13.81 million is available for the rebuild of 30 schools.

Tonga govt say World Bank responsible for Gita delays

The lack of progress, which has left a number of schools still using tents as classrooms 17 months after the cyclone, has been drawing criticism in recent weeks.

The government has rejected the accusations and its spokesperson, Lopeti Senituli, says the government has had no control over the hold up, but it has been assured repairs to the schools will start soon.

NZ taxpayers funding repairs to 300 storm-damaged homes in Tonga

It was described as the worst storm to hit Tonga in about six decades. 

Melino Maka, a leader of Auckland's Tongan community, says he's struggled to access information about aspects of the work being done to repair damaged homes in Tonga. 

Maka says he's been contacted by about 20 people in Tonga who have questions about the efforts and he's tried unsuccessfully through various channels to get them answers, he says. 

“When people don't get information they start to speculate. 

Digicel Tonga helps rebuild staff homes

The employees were given vouchers from Pacific Timber Hardware by Digicel Tonga CEO, Ben Kealy.

They will be able to pick up building supplies from PTH to rebuild their homes. 

Digicel Tonga employee, Asiate Vaka expressed her appreciation to Kealy and the company for the assistance.

A cake was cut to acknowledge the new journey that the staff would be embarking on as they rebuild their homes.


Photo by Digicel Tonga      

Tonga to invest US$15 million to fix cyclone-damaged schools

The government said 109 of Tonga's 150 schools were damaged affecting 23,000 students at all levels of education.

It has announced a strategy to repair, retrofit and reconstruct both government and non-government schools so they can return to normal for their students as soon as possible.

So far half a million US dollars has been spent on the repair of government schools and a relief grant of $US1.5 million has been given to non-government schools for minor repairs and fixing water and sanitation.

Gita caused $US156 million in damages in Tonga

The ministry's chief executive Balwyn Fa'otusia said 5,499 properties received minor damage, 1,028 were majorly damaged and 469 houses were completely destroyed.

She said the government was providing material and labour for repairs, while about 250 damaged properties are still yet to be fixed.

Matangi Tonga reported the six month emergency period when people can import duty free construction materials, runs for another three months.

Meanwhile the Ministry of Education said 29 school buildings in Tonga will have to be rebuilt.

Tonga’s central bank assesses impact of Cyclone Gita on economy

According to the National Reserve Bank it will reduce financial growth in the short term, but will also boost foreign reserves.

The Governor of the Reserve Bank, Dr. Sione Ngongo Kioa told the bank’s board of directors’ meeting earlier this month that domestic economic activities in February 2018 were affected by the devastation by tropical cyclone Gita.

Kioa said this would also be reflected in the economic activities of upcoming months.

Māori King calls for aid to help Cyclone-struck Tonga

King Tuheitia Paki's son, Te Ariki Tamaroa has just returned from the island kingdom.

Now Waahi Pa in Huntly has opened its doors to receive donations.

Feeding and caring for people is a traditional practice at Waahi Paa.

“Since the inception of the Poukai, our practice is to help the widows, destitute and needy,” says spokesperson Hone-Haunui Rapana.

“So we as Māori are fortunate to have this opportunity to help our Pacific Island relations”.

Tonga A's Pacific Challenge campaign hampered by Gita

The Tongans have lost consecutive games handsomely and sit at the bottom of the four team table with one round to go.

But Fatani said the cyclone really disrupted their preparation and led to a less than ideal tournament.

"Hurricane Gita hit us and affected our preparation.

"That whole week we didn't have any training at all," he said.

"So I was concerned about fitness, a lack of fitness, we had no time to catch up with the boys and train before we came to the tournament."