It was a very difficult time for Tonga last year, as another national tragedy struck such as the MV Ashika sinking which preceeded a month earlier with a loss of 74 lives.
It is expected that an official commemorative service is to take place on Niuatoputapu to remember the victims and the affected families. The religious service will be led by the Catholic Church and supported by all other religious denominations on the island. It is also expected that there will be unveiling of a memorial plaque with the names of the victims.
The relief efforts and assistance to the Niuas continues and the rebuilding of lives and homes is slowly underway.
According to Mr. S. Fe'ao Vakata, Communications Engineer from the Ministry of Information and Communications, in terms of communications and radio telecommunications networks, the Niuas are benefitting from invaluable assistance from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) who recently setup new FM Radio Transmitter and antennas in Niuafo'ou. Mr. Vakata was also in the Niuas during the Niuatoputapu Operation, and assisted in the Relief efforts and Emergency coordination committee.
The installation and providing of services by the FM Radio and the Internet Access will not only benefit the people of Niuafo'ou but also the visitors to the island. There is also a plan to rebroadcast at the FM Radio Station some radio programs which have already been broadcasted by the Tonga Broadcasting Commission and other Radio Broadcasting Stations in Tongatapu.
At the same time the Ministry of Information and Communications is actively working on similar projects with other development partners and donor agencies to provide the same ICT service to the other remote islands and rural areas throughout Tonga so that the people living in these areas can enjoy the same service.
Issued by the: Ministry of Information and Communications, Nuku'alofa, 2010.