25th November, 2020 A two-day training, ending today (24 November 2020), has been led by the Tonga Meteorological Services involving staff from the Tonga MET Office, Climate Change Department, the Tonga Broadcasting Commission and Community Elders. According to the Director, Mr. ‘Ofa Fa’anunu said, “ In order for the Tonga MET Office to further improve its service provisions, it plans to implement impact-based forecasting in collaboration with its user sectors and communities to provide action-based information that will boost production, improve safety and contribute to building the resilience of Tonga to the effects of natural hazards”.
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10th December, 2020 The Met Office is completing a series of public consultations with the Communities of Niuatoputapu this week. The consultations are part of the Multi-hazard Early Warning System (MHEW) Component of the Pacific Resilience Project (PREP) for the establishment of a MHEWS Policy for Tonga. According to the Director of Meteorology, Mr. Ofa Fa’anunu “Cabinet on 18 September 2020 gave approval for a MHEWS Policy to be formulated for Tonga to better guide works associated with Early Warning and Preparedness to natural Disasters. So far we have conducted consultations in parts of Tongatapu, Eua, about 50% of Ha’apai and now Niuatoputapu. Because everyone is affected by extreme events here in Tonga its crucial we capture everyone’s views (inclusiveness) irrespective of geographical location, livelihoods, gender and age. For Tonga to have an effective early warning system everybody must be on board and no one left behind. We hope to complete consultations in January 2021 and submit the Draft Policy to Cabinet for Government Endorsement in February 2021 for consideration”.
The Sixth Pacific Island Climate Outlook Forum (PICOF) ushered in a new era for the forum, which brings together representatives of Pacific National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs), regional partners and global climate centres to ensure consistency in the access to and the interpretation of climate information for the Pacific and the implications for critical sectors.
Low-lying islands in the South-west Pacific Ocean are counting the human and economic toll of Severe Tropical Cyclone Harold, which destroyed key infrastructure and highlighted the challenges of disaster and public health management in the COVID-19 era. At its peak, Harold was the equivalent of a Category 5 level hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale.