3 Nov 2015

Tonga hoping for more rain as it considers drought options

7:14 pm on 3 November 2015

Tonga is hoping that rain currently falling over the Niua islands will head south and relieve the drought-stricken country.

The National Emergency Office director, Leveni 'Aho, says he fears the worst is yet to come as the region deals with a threatening El Niño pattern.

He says so far the only place where water has been delivered is on the island of 'Eua, but the government is ready to organise shipping water to more remote islands if required.

He says if needed, the government will use desalination plants, but it's an expensive operation.

"It's all based on a diesel-generated desalination plant but we have one on the main island of Ha'apai which is on standby but so far we haven't activated those as yet, but we will be ready to activate those when the needs arise."

Leveni 'Aho says international partners such as Australia and New Zealand stand ready to support Tonga if asked to help.

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Photo: RNZ