31 Jan 2014

Tongan cyclone recovery plan approved by Cabinet

3:01 pm on 31 January 2014

The Tongan government has today approved a cyclone recovery plan to deal with the category five storm which displaced 8,000 people, destroyed buildings and infrastructure and flattened food crops three weeks ago.

The deputy prime minister, Samiu Vaipulu, says the plan includes immediate needs, such as ordering 200 more tents and setting up desalination plants on the outer islands.

He says long-term plans are also addressed in the plan, such as rebuilding schools and housing, replacing infrastructure and long-term food security.

Mr Vaipulu says the government is discussing with the World Bank how this will be funded.

"Cabinet have approved our plans, everything today. So we will look for the funding. I will be in Ha'apai tomorrow morning with the World Bank and we will see how we can possibly fund this reconstruction of Ha'apai."

Samiu Vaipulu says he is looking forward to discussing the relief effort with the New Zealand foreign minister, Murray McCully, who is in Tonga for the next two days.