NUKU’ALOFA, TONGA (1 May 2020) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) today approved a $200,000 (460,000 pa’anga) grant to the Government of Tonga to help restore life-sustaining services following the damage from Tropical Cyclone Harold.

The Category 4 cyclone hit Tonga on 9 April, with sustained winds of more than 150 kilometers per hour affecting the country’s east and southeast and extensive flooding affecting the main island of Tongatapu and the ‘Eua group of islands.

“Tropical Cyclone Harold destroyed livelihoods and vital infrastructure in Tonga and other Pacific countries,” said ADB Director General for the Pacific Leah Gutierrez. “This grant will assist early recovery and relief efforts, and ADB stands ready to help support Tonga build back better in the wake of the cyclone.”

Strong tides, heavy winds, and flooding from the cyclone devastated homes and businesses along Tonga’s coastal areas. National assessments estimate almost 8,000 people—about 1,400 households on Tongatapu and ‘Eua—were severely impacted and are in need of urgent help.

Heavy damage was also inflicted on public infrastructure, particularly wharves, coastal roads, and power supplies. The impact on food security and livelihoods—as a result of damage to household food stores, root crops, and fruit trees—has also been significant.

This is ADB’s third grant to the Pacific to help the region recover from the effects of Tropical Cyclone Harold, after Fiji received $400,000 and Vanuatu received $1 million in late April.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.

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