8 Oct 2009

Tonga tsunami reconstruction on track

7:00 pm on 8 October 2009

Tonga's National Disaster Office says many public facilities are now operational on the northern island of Niuatoputapu, after last week's tsunami destroyed buildings and claimed nine lives.

The Office's Expert Assessment Team's Alfred Soakai says, after earlier concerns, water is now flowing to the three villages affected, but a remaining immediate concern is telecommunications.

He says a major clean up is underway and while some assistance has been provided by the crews of visiting yachts, more support will be sought from international agencies, such as the United Nations Development Programme and the New Zealand aid agency, NZAID, which visited the island this week.

"Getting the telecoms back on line may require some assistance. All of the equipment was damaged. The wave practically covered the whole station. The Government Assessment Team went up yesterday and they will be submitting a report to Cabinet very quickly and then acting on that quickly to continue dialogue with our donor partners."