New schools rebuilt in Ha'apai are more climate resilient
12 new school buildings in Tonga's Ha'apai group which have been rebuilt to be more climate resilient are now in full use, two years after Cyclone Ian struck the islands.
12 new school buildings in Tonga's Ha'apai group, which have been built to more be more resilient to climatic extremes, are now in full use, two years after Cyclone Ian hit.
The category-five cyclone killed one person, injured 14 others, flattened infrastructure and half of all commercial buildings.
It also damaged 13 out of the 17 schools in Ha'apai.
The governor of Ha'apai says almost 300 students had been receiving their schooling in temporary shelters since the cyclone hit in January 2014.
Mo'ale Finau told Indira Moala the students are excited to be back in schools that have been built to a stronger standard.
MO'ALE FINAU: The people of Ha'apai are actually excited because now the children are safe and could go back to their various classes. You know, get out of the tents and the temporary shelters they've been in for the past two years. So, this is a blessing, a good news. A blessing for Ha'apai. We're just happy that the buildings have been completed.
INDIRA MOALA: The special thing about these buildings now - these schools that have been rebuilt, is that the construction and the work that was done to these buildings has now made it more climate resilient.
MF: Yeah. All the buildings were climate-proof built. So I believe that the plan, the design and everything was done to make sure it could withstand disasters. So, I think the buildings are more climate-proof. They are stronger now than they used to be. It's good now here in Ha'apai that we have these strong buildings being constructed.
IM: What's so different about these buildings and the way that they've been built that makes them more climate resilient?
MF: I can see there's a big difference because the architect was talking to me when the buildings were commissioned. He told me that the structure of the buildings are different to the structures in the past. He said the structural make-up of the building are much stronger. The nails and all those materials that have been used are quite different. But I can see the roof in this building are different from the roofing that was used before. Plus, in the windows, they put strengthening wood from outside for times of disasters like heavy rain or something like that. The structural make-up of the buildings is much different from what I used to see in the past.
IM: Do you know if they're strong enough to withstand a category-five cyclone?
MF: Yes. I have no doubt about it you know. I can say these twelve buildings, they can all withstand a category-five cyclone.
IM: I suppose on the back of seeing what happened in Fiji, it must be a relief to see the reconstruction of these buildings that are more climate resilient.
MF: Yes, yes. So we have learned lots of things after cyclone Ian. It is good now that all parties come together and do work here in Ha'apai to make sure it lasts.
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