20 March 2014
Your Royal Highnesses, Crown Prince Tupouto’a ‘Ulukalala And Crown Princess Sinaitakala Tuku’aho
Nobles of the Realm
Deputy Prime Minister and Ministers of the Crown
Representatives of JRC and JTEC
Ladies and Gentlement
We are gathered here today at this very sacred land to mark the completion and commissioning of this early warning tsunami siren system, which is a pilot project in the Pacific by the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (or APT), which made possible through the kind assistance of the Government of Japan. I am thankful and appreciate the recognition by APT the Government of Tonga’s effort to save the lives of our people during natural disasters, especially tsunami, through e-disaster arrangements. I thank also for the Government and the people of Japan for your kind donation to fund this project.
I also wish to acknowledge the expert advice and installation of this system by the Japan Radio Co. Limited (or JRC), the Japan Telecommunications Engineering and Consulting Service (or JTEC), and also the ICT Overseas Volunteer Association of Japan (or ICTOV), and with the Tongan team to successfully implement the project.
Like Japan, Tonga is vulnerable to natural disasters especially the most devastating impact of tsunami. As we are all ware, tsunami causes damages to properties and our belongings in huge degree, and costs lives to our people. This is great concern to Government, and we are seriously addressing this issue. With the timely implementation of this pilot project, I am confident it will help to alleviate the problem that I have just mentioned.
But this is not only the function of this siren system. District Officers and Town Officers can also use it for public announcement like ‘fono’ or matters of prime importance to the lives of the people in the villages and communities.
We may mark today the completion of this project, but Government wishes to pursue further to have the same systems positioned throughout Tonga. All parts of Tonga including our territorial waters expose as risky areas to natural disasters, especially tsunami.
Tsunami, as we all know is a Japanese term for such natural disaster. And it is only appropriate to have a Japanese solution for such a natural disaster. To that extend Your Excellency Dr. Hamuro, I thank you and your Government, and the APT for choosing Tonga as pilot site for this project.
As I have said earlier, Government is currently working on a proposal to install similar systems to the outer island groups in our effort to mitigate the effect of natural disasters, using ICT and the Internet through our national broadcaster, the Tonga Broadcasting Commission (or TBC). And I call again the assistance of Japan and of course, our traditional development partners to help us with this continued effort to save the lives of our people, as a priority.
I am aware also today is the birthday of Your Royal Highness, Crown Princess Sinaitakala. From all of us, we wish Your Royal Highness Happy Birthday.
And let us all pray that God continues to bless Tonga and her future.
Tu’a ‘Ofa Atu
Issued by the Ministry of Information & Communications