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.
Chief Executive Officer for MEIDECC and interim NEMC Chairman Paula Ma’u told the NEMC that the New Zealand government was paying for a charter flight, leaving Fua’amotu this afternoon, taking government officials across for the survey and assessment.
A naval boat will also leave this week for the islands, including Nomuka in Ha’apai.
Mr Ma’u said it is important to carry out the survey and assessment to determine the extent of the damage, what is being damaged, what needs to be done and how much is needed to assist rehabilitation and recovery.
“We are thankful to the New Zealand government and our donors and partners who are ready to help us,” he said.
“Once the assessment and survey have been done we will know what we need to do and how much we will need to do those.”
The Director of Tonga MET Ofa Fa’anunu told the NEMC that the cyclone warning for Tonga has now been cancelled, along with all other warnings that were issued.
“Boats can now travel and things are returning to normal as well,” he added.
The Director of NEMO Mafua Maka said initial damage confirmed there were no deaths or injuries but there were damage to roads and other infrastructure on Ha’apai and Vava’u.
“We are still updating our records,” he said.
“But initial reports point to the fact that food supply is needed urgently out there on the islands and drinking water for some.
“Strong surges caused problems along the coastal areas and this is being looked at.”
The NEMC hopes to have a better understanding on the extent of damage, coast and how much is needed by the end of the week.