Tonga: Volcanic Eruption Emergency Response Project

Sovereign Project | 56008-001

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai undersea volcano, located about 65 kilometers north of the Kingdom of Tonga's capital Nuku'alofa, erupted on 15 January 2022. The eruption produced an ash cloud that rose 30 kilometers (km) in altitude, launched an estimated 1 cubic kilometer of material into the atmosphere, and triggered a tsunami which resulted in inundation in Tonga and affected other countries, with waves recorded as far away as Japan, Peru, and the United States.

Project Details

  • Project Officer
    Olsson, Sivou Beatrice
    Pacific Department
    Request for information
  • Country/Economy
    Tonga
  • Sector
    • Public sector management
Project Name Volcanic Eruption Emergency Response Project
Project Number 56008-001
Country / Economy Tonga
Project Status Active
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Grant
Source of Funding / Amount
Grant 0824-TON: Volcanic Eruption Emergency Response Project
Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund US$ 500,000.00
Strategic Agendas Environmentally sustainable growth
Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change Gender Equity and Mainstreaming
Governance and capacity development
Private sector development
Sector / Subsector

Public sector management / Public expenditure and fiscal management

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming Gender equity
Description

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai undersea volcano, located about 65 kilometers north of the Kingdom of Tonga's capital Nuku'alofa, erupted on 15 January 2022. The eruption produced an ash cloud that rose 30 kilometers (km) in altitude, launched an estimated 1 cubic kilometer of material into the atmosphere, and triggered a tsunami which resulted in inundation in Tonga and affected other countries, with waves recorded as far away as Japan, Peru, and the United States.

An estimated 85,000 people (84% of the population) were directly affected. Tsunami waves affected the west coast of Tongatapu (the main island), the island of 'Eua, and the Ha'apai group of islands, travelling up to 200 meters inland. The Government of Tonga reported three confirmed fatalities. The islands of 'Atata, Mango, Fonoifua, and Nomuka were the worst affected with all but the largest buildings destroyed, leaving widespread debris. The populations of these islands were evacuated to other islands where evacuation shelters were established. Government reported 293 houses across Tonga were damaged or destroyed and over 1,500 persons were displaced. Ashfall, measuring between 5-10 centimeters thick on Tongatapu, impacted all island groups, resulting in defoliated trees, buried crops, damaged public infrastructure and houses, and contaminated water supplies. These impacts led to food and water insecurity.

The government declared a state of emergency commencing 16 January 2022, pursuant to section 32 of the Emergency Management Act. The National Emergency Management Office coordinated and monitored relief efforts by government agencies, and local and international nongovernmental organizations. Immediate relief efforts focused on the provision of food, non-food items (including water containers, hygiene kits, and household items), shelter, and clean-up of the ashfall. The restoration of critical infrastructure and essential services, particularly international and domestic communications, were also prioritized. Restoration efforts were challenging due to the nationwide state of emergency in place for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Humanitarian and development partner support was critical to help the government meet immediate needs of the impacted population.

The government requested support from ADB under the Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund (APDRF) on 25 January 2022. The UN Resident Coordinator, on 27 January 2022, confirmed the need for APDRF assistance and acknowledged that a contribution by ADB to support the government to meet immediate humanitarian needs, in partnership with the international humanitarian community, would be appreciated. Based on identified needs, a grant of $500,000.00 from the APDRF was approved to help fund expenses necessary to restore life-sustaining services, including but not limited to: (i) provision of medical kits, food, and bottled drinking water; (ii) purchase of water purification and sanitation systems; (iii) provision of transitional shelter; (iv) provision of personal hygiene kits; (v) site clearing; and (vi) safe disposal of useless rubble.

Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy The damage caused by the volcanic eruption and tsunami was of a scale beyond the government's resources and capacity to restore life-sustaining services to the affected population in a reasonable time. Border closures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic had also deeply affected Tonga's economy, which contracted by an estimated 5.3% in FY2021 (ended 30 June 2021). Fiscal pressures also increased due to declines in government revenues and increased expenditure, including on health and to support vulnerable people, which constrained the government's ability to respond to this disaster. There was also concern that the impacts of the disaster and the effects of the ashfall would further compound the socioeconomic pressures on Tongan families caused by the COVID-19-induced economic shock. The impact of the disaster placed an additional burden on households, requiring extra expenditures at a time when incomes have already been lost or reduced due to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and Tropical Cyclone Harold in 2020. The significant long-term social, psychological, and economic impacts on the affected population was a paramount concern, particularly because it affected people who were highly reliant on subsistence farming for food security and livelihoods.
Impact

Not Applicable

Project Outcome
Description of Outcome

Not Applicable

Progress Toward Outcome
Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

Not Applicable

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)
Geographical Location Nation-wide
Safeguard Categories
Environment C
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
Responsible ADB Officer Olsson, Sivou Beatrice
Responsible ADB Department Pacific Department
Responsible ADB Division Pacific Subregional Office in Suva, Fiji
Executing Agencies
Ministry of Finance
Timetable
Concept Clearance -
Fact Finding 18 Jan 2022 to 18 Jan 2022
MRM -
Approval 07 Feb 2022
Last Review Mission -
Last PDS Update 21 Sep 2022

Grant 0824-TON

Milestones
Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
07 Feb 2022 10 Feb 2022 10 Feb 2022 07 Aug 2022 - -
Financing Plan Grant Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 0.50 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 0.50 26 Sep 2022 0.00 0.00 0%
Counterpart 0.00 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 26 Sep 2022 0.50 0.00 100%

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