2 Years After Tonga Cyclone, Ha‘apai Electrical Work Complete

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

$4 million project funded by Asian Development Bank, NZ

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, March 8, 2016) – A multi-million dollar project to restore Ha’apai’s electricity network, after it was wrecked by Tropical Cyclone Ian in early 2014, was completed recently.

The project, funded through a contribution of over USD$3 million by the Asian Development Bank and New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (NZD$1.4m [US$950,000]) aimed to supply safe and reliable electricity to households and businesses in the island group.

Tonga Power Ltd. reported that Cyclone Ian left 971 customers without electricity, and damaged 90% of the network lines, 65% of transformers, and a generator.

Linesmen and lineswomen of Tonga Power Ltd were credited with restoring electricity to villages while strengthening the network to be able to withstand future extreme weather events.

The completion of the project was celebrated with distinguished guests including the Prime Minister, Hon. ‘Akilisi Pohiva, at a ceremony at Tonga Power’s office compound in Pangai, Ha’apai.

Asian Development Bank Vice President, Mr Stephen Groff, thanked the project team for their hard work.

"It is great to see the young women and men who have made this project a success. This project provided equal opportunity for women and men in the workforce and with the right team, training and commitment, gender makes no difference," said Mr Groff.

New Zealand High Commissioner to Tonga, HE Sarah Walsh, reaffirmed that the Government of New Zealand is ready to assist Tonga when required.

Tonga Power’s CEO, Robert Matthews, said the network is more resilient to future extreme weather events and disasters. "This project will help deliver safer and reliable electricity services in Ha’apai," he said.

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