Tonga insured for damage as cyclone season gets underway

With the cyclone season underway, Tonga is being covered against damage as part of a US$45 million insurance scheme.

The Pacific Catastrophe Risk Insurance Company, which was established a year ago, is providing $US45 cover for Tonga, the Cook Islands, the Marshall Islands, Samoa and Vanuatu.

The company, which is owned by the Pacific Island countries, was established with the assistance of the World Bank.

During the pilot period of the scheme, in January 2014, Tonga was hit by severe (category five) Cyclone Ian.

A state of emergency was declared for Vava’u and Ha’apai.

More than 1000 buildings in Ha’apai were destroyed and 2000 people were left homeless.

As a result, a payout of $1.27 million was made to Tonga under the policy on January 27th; an amount equivalent to more than the country’s 2013 contingency budget, and more than half of the reserves of the Tonga National Reserve Fund.

This was the first payout made under the pilot scheme.

The official 2017/18 cyclone season began on November 1 and will end on April 30 next year.

The Meteorology Department said the kingdom could expect up to two cyclones this season
with a 40-50% chance that at least one could be Severe (Category 3 or above).

The department said all communities should remain alert and prepared during the cyclone season take cyclone alerts, warnings and advisories seriously when they were issued.

All communities are urged to be vigilant and follow forecast information provided by the Department.



Photo caption: Cyclone Ian destroys more than 1000 buildings in Ha’apai and about 2000 people were left homeless.