5 Feb 2015

Exposed Tonga hospital moves inland

2:51 pm on 5 February 2015

The hospital in the Tongan islands of Ha'apai is to be replaced by a new building further inland to make it less vulnerable to the elements.

An Asian Development Bank funded project will place an up to 40 bed hospital a couple of hundred metres inland and on slightly elevated ground.

The director of health Dr Siale 'Akau'ola says the move is a must because the hospital is currently 10 metres from the sea and the front lawn is already suffering major erosion.

Dr 'Akau'ola also says the site is an earthquake risk.

"The most concern for us is an earthquake because the hospital is built on sandy foundations and we are sure that it's soaked with seawater because it is so close to the sea. Another further shake, the foundation would be very soft and we risk major damage."

Tonga's director of health Dr Siale 'Akau'ola

The ADB is contributing 1 million US dollars to the project which is scheduled for completion in 2016.