NUKU’ALOFA, TONGA (22 February 2018) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is providing an additional $1 million, in the form of a grant, to the Government of Tonga to fund critical, life-saving services following Tropical Cyclone Gita, which caused widespread destruction on 12 February.
“Gita was one of the most powerful cyclones recorded in Tonga’s history. It directly affected almost 80% of Tonga’s population and damaged or destroyed around two thousand homes,” said Carmela Locsin, Director General of ADB’s Pacific Department. “This grant will go towards restoring critical services, like water and electricity, clearing and disposing of rubble, and providing transitional shelter.”
The grant was funded by ADB’s Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund, which provides quick-disbursing grants for the restoration of life-preserving services to countries affected by natural disasters. The grant agreement was signed today by Ms. Locsin and ADB Executive Director Syurkani Ishak Kasim, acting on behalf of the Government of Tonga, at ADB’s headquarters in Manila. The funds are expected to be disbursed within days.
The additional funding follows $6 million ADB provided to the Government of Tonga on 16 February under the Pacific Disaster Resilience Program (PDRP). The PDRP was established in 2017 to provide financing for disaster recovery and reconstruction activities in Samoa, Tonga, and Tuvalu.
Along with damage to property, including the destruction of Tonga’s historic Parliament House and other public buildings, an estimated 80% of the electricity network in the Nuku’alofa area is damaged. Restoration of the electricity network could take more than 7 weeks.
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.