NUKU’ALOFA, TONGA (16 February 2018) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has provided $6 million to the Government of Tonga to help fund priority early recovery activities following the onslaught of Tropical Cyclone Gita, which tore through Tongatapu, Tonga’s main island and nearby ‘Eua island, late on 12 February.

“Cyclone Gita has destroyed livelihoods and infrastructure, and providing emergency relief is the first step towards restoring essential services,” said Carmela Locsin, Director General of ADB’s Pacific Department. “This is the first time ADB has provided post-disaster funds under such a contingent facility, allowing government to respond quickly to emerging needs. As well as this immediate financing, ADB stands ready to provide further assistance for Tonga to rebuild following the cyclone.”

“The Tongan government greatly appreciates the quick support provided by ADB to assist the country’s immediate response and recovery efforts to be more effective and timely,” said Acting Minister for Finance and National Planning Poasi Tei. “Gita, a category 4 cyclone, was probably the most powerful cyclone to pass near Tonga in 60 years, with sustained winds of up to 145 miles per hour. Early estimates indicate that at least 1,100 houses have been damaged with 120 destroyed. Rehabilitation costs for electricity, water and sanitation, schools, and other sectors are likely to be very significant.”

Funding will come from ADB’s Pacific Disaster Resilience Program, which was established in December 2017 to help strengthen Samoa, Tonga, and Tuvalu’s resilience to disasters. The Pacific Disaster Resilience Program fills a financing gap experienced by many Pacific countries hit hard by disasters. It provides a predictable and quick-disbursing source of financing for early response, recovery, and reconstruction activities, and supports priority actions in disaster risk management in participating countries.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region.

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