Tonga To Get $1.27 Million Insurance Payout For Cyclone Recovery

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Funds are first dispensed by Pacific Catastrophe Risk Insurance Pilot project

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Jan. 25, 2014) – Tonga will be the first to receive an immediate payout of US$1.27 million under the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Insurance Pilot towards the recovery in Ha'apai from Cyclone Ian, the World Bank announced on January 23.

Franz Drees-Gross the World Bank Country Director for the Pacific Islands said Cyclone Ian has affected hundreds of families in several communities, destroying people’s homes and critical infrastructure such as health centers and schools.

He said the funds received under the scheme will allow the Tongan Government to meet some of those urgent needs as they look to repair and rebuild in the days and weeks ahead.

Tonga’s Minister for Finance and National Planning Hon 'Aisake Eke said the cash received from the catastrophe risk insurance pilot makes an important financial contribution to carry out government's strategy for mitigating natural disasters to ensure that response efforts to help the people of Ha'apai recover and return to their normal everyday lives can continue without interruption or delay.

The World Bank is also supporting damage assessments in Ha’apai that will enable the Government of Tonga to gain a full picture of the damage sustained, so that it can rebuild affected areas and increase disaster resilience for the future.

Pilot

Tonga is one of six Pacific island countries together with Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu that are currently participating in the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Insurance Pilot launched in January 2013.

The World Bank acts as an intermediary between Pacific island countries and a group of reinsurance companies.

The Government of Japan currently co-finances the insurance premiums of Tonga, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, while Cook Islands fully fund their insurance premium from their own sources.

Disaster risk assessment

The Pacific DRFI program is part of the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Assessment and Financing Initiative (PCRAFI) a joint initiative of the World Bank, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC/SOPAC) and the Asian Development Bank with financial support from the Government of Japan, the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and the ACP-EU Natural Disaster Risk Reduction Program.

The PCRAFI was launched in 2007 aims to provide the Pacific island nations with disaster risk assessment and financing tools for enhanced disaster risk management and climate change adaptation.

The Category 5 cyclone which swept across Ha'apai Island caused one tragic death, displaced thousands and caused major devastation to crops and infrastructure. According to reports 75-percent of buildings have been damaged in some parts of Ha'apai as well as power and communication networks.

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