19 Feb 2015

Rebuild progress in Tonga's Ha'apai school delays likely

8:24 pm on 19 February 2015

The Tongan government says it is addressing the housing shortage in Ha'apai but warns school buildings may have to wait a little longer.

Cyclone Ian devastated the group in January 2014, and there were reportedly 80 percent of people affected still living in tents earlier this month.

However this week the government announced that 46 new homes have been completed and another 69 were due for completion by April.

Deputy Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni says land and contractor issues are being sorted out now and he is hoping that everyone will be housed by the end of June.

"What we are trying to do is actually get as many people into their buildings as soon as we can. Unfortunately for the schools we're just getting started. We just have to follow certain procedures but hopefully we can shorten that time-frame so we can get the kids back into the classrooms, or some of the newer ones, because right now what we do is actually merge some of the classes so we can accommodate them."

Deputy Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni.

Massive damage remains after Cyclone Ian.

Massive damage remains after Cyclone Ian. Photo: Richard Small