Tongan Government Offers Land For Ha'apai Residents

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Gov owned land for rebuilding for cyclone Ian victims

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, March 25, 2015) – Fourteen months after Cyclone Ian tore through the Tongan group of Ha'apai, more than 300 residents are still waiting for their houses to be rebulit.

Over the weekend, frustrated residents again met with the government over delay issues.

The Governor of Ha'apai Mo'ale Finau says one of the main issues is land ownership with many families living on land owned by overseas-based Tongans.

However Mr Finau says a resolution may have been found with the government offering a temporary home elsewhere.

"In the main island of Lifuka the government owns land so what we will do, we will have especially those who have problems on land issues, build their house on government land and then later on that person will have to find his or her land to have the house shifted onto later."

The Governor has also asked the Tongan government to expand their rebuilding plans for cyclone-affected residents.

He says the government needs to stop constructing one room houses during the rebuild.

"You know a one room house is not reasonable because a family has to have a big size house for every family. That's the solution we are working on. That was my suggestion because we have had too many complaints already over the sizes of the houses."

Mr Finau says 60-70 houses have been built so far.

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