JOINT PRESS RELEASE

Nauru, 04 September 2018- The European Union (EU) has today endorsed the mobilization of EUR
2 million (TOPS 5.3 million) to the Kingdom of Tonga to support recovery efforts following the
significant damage caused by tropical cyclone Gita in February of this year.
Mr. Jean-Louis Ville, the Head of Unit for East Asia, South-East Asia and the Pacific at the European
Commission Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development, endorsed the
mobilization of the funds in the margins of the 49th Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru. He underlined:
''The EU is proud to support Tonga. Many people were severely affected by the tropical cyclone Gita.
While emergency assistance was rapidly provided, there is still need for medium term reconstruction.
Following continued dialogue and exchanges with the Government of Tonga and development
partners, the EU is making available EUR 2 million to support recovery efforts. The EU provided a
similar support to Tonga in 2014, following tropical cyclone Ian.''
While expressing his gratitude, the Minister of Finance and National Planning, Hon. Dr Pohiva
Tu'i'onetoa said: ''The Government of Tonga is grateful for the generous additional support provided
by the EU. The funds will be used to implement its medium and long term recovery and
rehabilitation programs that are outlined in the Disaster Recovery Framework."
The EUR 2 million is a top up to the EU's current bilateral development cooperation (energy sector
budget support programme) with the Kingdom of Tonga worth EUR 10 million (TOPS 26 million).
The programme is consistent with the country priorities and supports the implementation of Tonga's
National Sustainable Energy Sector Policy, by means of Tonga’s own implementation modalities and
public finance management processes. Topping up this facility will make the funds immediately
available for investing in reconstruction action.
The EU energy sector budget support programme is relevant for the Agenda 2030. It contributes
primarily to the progressive achievement of Sustainable Development Goal target 7, ensuring access
to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all, but also promotes progress towards
target 13, taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
Background
Cyclone Gita made landfall on the islands Tongatapu and Eua on 12 February. Damages are
substantial and most of the country remains without electricity. The capital of Nuku’alofa is still
largely paralysed by extensive floods and debris blocking most of the roads. UN OCHA reports that
around 20% of Tongalapu’s houses were damaged or destroyed. This is in addition to damages on
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some essential public buildings including a hospital, Parliament building, and meteorological station.
Some 4 521 people, or 5% of the population of Tongalapu island are displaced in 108 evacuation
centres. Floods and stagnant water, still present in many parts of the town, combined with destruction
of infrastructure providing safe potable water to the residents of the country prompt fears of possible
disease outbreaks.
Contact: Mr. KASIM Mohammed Nazeem, Press Officer Tel: +679 3313633-110
Email: Mohammed-Nazeem.KASIM@eeas.europa.eu
Ms. ATAATA Taiatu, Office of the National Authorising Officer Tel: +676 24463
Email: stataata@gmail.com