A general grant of 2.8 billion Japanese Yen (equivalent to around $56 million pa’anga) was committed by the Government of Japan to fund a Nationwide Early Warning System and Strengthening Disaster Communications Project in Tonga.
Mr. Kazuyuki Nakane, State Minister for Foreign Affairs and Hon. Semisi Sika, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Tourism signed the Exchange of Notes, on May 16 in Tokyo.
The project aims to assist Tonga’s sustainable development by strengthening its disaster prevention systems.
This would include funding the installation of emergency radio systems, early warning sound alert systems, provision of equipment and the construction of a headquarter building for Tonga Broadcasting Commission.
The Japanese Embassy stated the alert transmission in time of tsunami evacuation will be shortened from 90 minutes to 8 minutes and number of beneficiaries will increase from 13,000 to 67,000 people through this project.
“Tonga due to its geographical characteristics face threats of natural disasters, including tropical cyclones and earthquakes that expose a high risk to tsunamis. Considering such disaster-prone environment, Tonga has urgent needs for upgrading disaster prevention counter measures such as tsunami evacuation with enough equipment and soft-components operated by the Tonga Metrological Services to secure communication links to outer islands, and also with new facilities of TBC.”
The Minister is in Japan for the 8th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM8) to be held in Fukushima Prefecture May 18-19, where Japan and Pacific Islands leaders are expected to discuss a wide range of topics, including sustainable development in Pacific countries.