The centre at Neiafu was opened by King Tupou VI.
Prime Minister Pohiva Tuíónetoa said Vava’u, like the rest of Tonga, is vulnerable to hazards that have caused serious destruction such as tropical cyclones, earthquakes and tsunamis.
He said they can cause damage to people, their livelihoods, environment and the development of Vava’u.
“This Centre is primarily to strengthen early warnings and preparedness to withstand and be resilient to the negative impacts of hazards and emergencies; and to minimise the possibilities of damages to occur. It is 594 square meters, and is equipped with hi-tech equipment. The Meteorological Department and the National Emergency Management Office will work collaboratively to achieve its objectives.”
The World Bank representative Natalia Palu Latu outlined the objective of the project as a “multifaceted approach and plan, both at the regional and national level to strengthen multi hazard early warning systems, support resilient investments to meet internationally recognized standards and financial protection for Tonga.”
The facility was co-funded by the World Bank; Global Environment Facility; Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) through the Japan- Bank Programme for Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Management and the Government of Tonga and implemented under the Pacific Resilience Programme (PREP) at a value of TOP$1,952,303.04.
The centre is equipped with office equipment valued at TOP$152,411.14.
The centre will continue to be developed so that in the event of failure or partial failure of the Fua’amotu Warning Centre or the NEMO, the Vava’u Emergency Coordination Centre will be the backup centre where national warnings and response for Tonga will originate and operate from.
The building will operate under the Ministry of MEIDECC.
Photo supplied Government