25 Feb 2015

World Bank visiting cyclone-hit Ha'apai

1:17 pm on 25 February 2015

The cyclone-ravaged Ha'apai island group of Tonga will today host the Vice President of the World Bank for East Asia and the Pacific, Axel van Trotsenburg.

Pangai, the administrative capital of Ha'apai on the island of Lefuka.

Pangai, the administrative capital of Ha'apai on the island of Lefuka. Photo: NZDF

Hundreds of people are still living in tents, more than a year after Cyclone Ian, despite the World Bank's 12 million US dollars in grants and 1.27 million US dollars in immediate emergency relief funds.

A spokesperson for the World Bank says only 86 of the 141 vulnerable homeowners, and 90 of the 208 non-vulnerable homeowners own the land they live on, and legal issues have prevented the rebuilding.

Last week, the government said 46 new homes had been completed and another 69 were due for completion by April.

The Bank spokesperson says they wanted to have all vulnerable residents in Lifuka, 'Uiha, Foa and Ha'ano housed by January, and those in Mo'unga'one and Lofange by March, but Mr Finau says 80 percent of them are still in tents.

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