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Tonga: Cyclone Gita Recovery Project

Sovereign (Public) Project | 52129-001 Status: Active

The project will support the efforts of the Government of Tonga to reconstruct and climate- and disaster-proof the Nuku'alofa electricity network that was damaged by Tropical Cyclone Gita in February 2018.

Project Details

Project Officer
Uusimaa, Hanna K. Pacific Department Request for information
  • Tonga
  • Energy
Project Name Cyclone Gita Recovery Project
Project Number 52129-001
Country Tonga
Project Status Active
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Grant
Source of Funding / Amount
Grant 0575-TON: Cyclone Gita Recovery Project
concessional ordinary capital resources lending / Asian Development Fund US$ 6.80 million
Strategic Agendas Environmentally sustainable growth
Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change Gender Equity and Mainstreaming
Governance and capacity development
Knowledge solutions
Sector / Subsector

Energy / Electricity transmission and distribution

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming Some gender elements
Description The project will support the efforts of the Government of Tonga to reconstruct and climate- and disaster-proof the Nuku'alofa electricity network that was damaged by Tropical Cyclone Gita in February 2018.
Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

Based on its exposure, susceptibility, and coping and adaptive capacities, Tonga has been ranked second only to Vanuatu among the countries in the world most at risk of disasters caused by natural hazards. In any given year, it is likely that Tonga is either hit by a major natural disaster or is recovering from a previous one. The country is already experiencing the effects of climate change. Increasing variability in rainfall patterns is causing flooding and droughts in some locations. Increasing ocean temperature has led to coral bleaching and destruction of natural coastal barriers, and sea level rise is contributing to coastal erosion. These changes have heightened Tonga's exposure to disasters brought about by tropical cyclones and storm surges, which have inflicted significant losses on the economy. For example, a cyclone in 2002 resulted in losses of $60 million, and losses from another one in 2010 reached $22 million. Tropical Cyclone Ian in 2014 resulted in total damage and losses of about $50 million. Tonga is also located within the Pacific _ring of fire,_ which is associated with extreme seismic activity.

Tonga is expected to incur, on average, $15.5 million per year in losses from earthquakes and tropical cyclones. In the next 50 years, Tonga has a 50% chance of experiencing a loss exceeding $175 million and casualties higher than 440 people, and a 10% chance of experiencing a loss exceeding $430 million and casualties higher than 1,700 people. These figures could increase if the impacts of climate change are considered.

Tropical Cyclone Gita hit Tonga on 12 and 13 February 2018. It caused widespread destruction on Tongatapu, including Nuku'alofa, and the neighboring island of Eua. With average wind speeds of 130 kilometers per hour, and gusts of up to 195 kilometers per hour, it was the strongest cyclone to directly hit Tongatapu and Eua since severe Cyclone Isaac in March 1982. An accompanying storm surge reached 1 meter above normal high-tide levels, and 200 millimeters of rain fell within 24 hours, resulting in localized flooding. It is estimated that more than 80,000 people (or about 80% of the population of Tonga) were directly affected. The destructive winds, storm surges, and flooding brought down power lines; damaged and destroyed schools, resulting in closures; destroyed crops and fruit trees; and damaged public buildings, including the domestic airport, the Parliament building, and Tonga meteorological services. Nearly 5,000 houses were either destroyed or damaged. The government declared a state of emergency for the whole of Tonga on 12 February 2018.

The government led a post-disaster rapid assessment (PDRA) with assistance from development partners, including the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The PDRA estimated the total value of effects caused by the cyclone to be about $164.3 million, equivalent to nearly 38% of the nominal 2017 gross domestic product in Tonga. The estimation of recovery needs incorporated the principle of _building back better._ The total recovery and reconstruction cost is estimated at $148.7 million, of which $45.9 million is for the energy sector, including the cost of reconstruction of the power grid infrastructure assets on Tongatapu to a higher standard of disaster resilience.

The cyclone disrupted the power supply on the islands of Eua and Tongatapu, disconnecting all Tonga Power Limited (TPL) customers. However, the service lines that had already been upgraded under the ongoing Outer Islands Renewable Energy Project (OIREP) in Eua, and under the Tonga Village Network Upgrade Project (TVNUP) in Tongatapu funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), experienced significantly less damage than the grids that had not yet been upgraded. On Tongatapu, TVNUP had already upgraded 54% of TPL's grid prior to the landfall of the cyclone. Of the grids that had not yet been upgraded, 45.9% were damaged, compared with a damage of only 4.7% to the upgraded grids. The experience from OIREP and the TVNUP clearly demonstrates the resilience benefits of updating inefficient and aging power network infrastructure and building back better.

Over the first 6 weeks, during which businesses and schools were closed, TPL reconnected the 17,782 customers in Tongatapu through temporary emergency repairs, awaiting the final reconstruction and disaster-proofing. However, in the current condition, the network would not be able to withstand another storm. The old service lines are now connected with several joints, making them more susceptible to faults. The final reconstruction and upgrade should be done as soon as possible, to minimize secondary impacts on the economy and to restore reliable power supply in priority areas and for essential services.

On 15 February 2018, the government requested to withdraw $6.0 million in disaster contingent financing (a $3.1 million loan and $2.9 million grant) under ADB's Pacific Disaster Resilience Program, which was established in December 2017 to help strengthen the disaster resilience of Samoa, Tonga, and Tuvalu. ADB released the $6 million budget support within 24 hours from the request. On 22 February, ADB provided an additional $1 million under the Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund for humanitarian relief efforts. These funds were deposited in the government's emergency fund and were an essential part of its immediate response and early recovery efforts.

On 12 April 2018, the government requested further ADB support to access $8.8 million under the Asian Development Fund 12 Disaster Response Facility for the (i) reconstruction and upgrade of electricity network infrastructure damaged by the cyclone ($6.8 million), noting ADB's comparative advantage and ongoing projects in the sector that would allow rapid implementation of the project; and (ii) setup of a new disaster contingent financing facility ($2.0 million) to replace previous disaster contingent financing under ADB's Pacific Disaster Resilience Program, which was drawn down in full in response to Cyclone Gita.

In response to the government's request, ADB's emergency assistance will finance the reconstruction and _building back better_ of priority areas of the Nuku'alofa electricity network, identified as the most affected by the cyclone. The project will restore access to reliable electricity supply, reduce losses, and upgrade the network to a higher standard of disaster resilience.


More reliable and safe energy services (Tonga Strategic Development Framework 2015 2025)

More reliable and safe buildings and structures to improve services and maintenance, save on energy usage, and increase resilience to disasters

Project Outcome
Description of Outcome Reliable electricity supply in Nuku'alofa priority areas restored
Progress Toward Outcome
Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs Priority sections of Nuku'alofa electricity network rehabilitated and upgraded
Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)
Geographical Location Nation-wide
Safeguard Categories
Environment B
Involuntary Resettlement C
Indigenous Peoples C
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects
Involuntary Resettlement
Indigenous Peoples
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design
During Project Implementation
Business Opportunities
Procurement All procurement will be undertaken in accordance with the ADB Procurement Policy (2017, as amended from time to time) and Procurement Regulations for ADB Borrowers (2017, as amended from time to time). TPL will use their own labor force for works to restore access to and build back better the electrical supply network, Force Account will be used for the incremental labor cost associated with carrying out civil works required on the project.
Responsible ADB Officer Uusimaa, Hanna K.
Responsible ADB Department Pacific Department
Responsible ADB Division PAEN
Executing Agencies
Ministry of Finance
Vuna Road
Kingdom of Tonga
Concept Clearance -
Fact Finding 23 Apr 2018 to 27 Apr 2018
MRM 11 May 2018
Approval 15 Jun 2018
Last Review Mission -
Last PDS Update 29 Sep 2018

Grant 0575-TON

Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
15 Jun 2018 02 Jul 2018 01 Aug 2018 31 Dec 2020 - -
Financing Plan Grant Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 9.42 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 6.80 15 Jun 2018 5.43 0.00 80%
Counterpart 2.62 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 15 Jun 2018 1.62 0.00 24%

Project Data Sheets (PDS) contain summary information on the project or program. Because the PDS is a work in progress, some information may not be included in its initial version but will be added as it becomes available. Information about proposed projects is tentative and indicative.

The Access to Information Policy (AIP) recognizes that transparency and accountability are essential to development effectiveness. It establishes the disclosure requirements for documents and information ADB produces or requires to be produced.

The Accountability Mechanism provides a forum where people adversely affected by ADB-assisted projects can voice and seek solutions to their problems and report alleged noncompliance of ADB's operational policies and procedures.

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Safeguard Documents See also: Safeguards

Safeguard documents provided at the time of project/facility approval may also be found in the list of linked documents provided with the Report and Recommendation of the President.

Title Document Type Document Date
Cyclone Gita Recovery Project: Initial Environmental Examination Initial Environmental Examination Nov 2018
Cyclone Gita Recovery Project: Environmental Assessment and Review Framework Environmental Assessment and Review Framework May 2018

Evaluation Documents See also: Independent Evaluation

None currently available.

Related Publications

None currently available.

The Access to Information Policy (AIP) establishes the disclosure requirements for documents and information ADB produces or requires to be produced in its operations to facilitate stakeholder participation in ADB's decision-making. For more information, refer to the Safeguard Policy Statement, Operations Manual F1, and Operations Manual L3.

Requests for information may also be directed to the InfoUnit.


No tenders for this project were found.

Contracts Awarded

No contracts awarded for this project were found

Procurement Plan

Title Document Type Document Date
Cyclone Gita Recovery Project: Procurement Plan Procurement Plans May 2019