13 October 2010 To mark the world-wide observation of the Disaster Reduction Day, this year aims at "making cities resilient" and assuring the readiness of any city when any disaster strike.
In Tonga, a one-day special event was organized by the Tonga Red Cross Society in association with the Ministry of Works and Disaster Management, the Ministry of Energy and Climate Change and the Planning and Urban Management Agency who meet together to mark the day with presentations and discussions of key disaster management related topics.
The Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Ma'afu, officially opened the event, followed by presentations from the Urban Planning and Management Agency representative, Tukua Tonga as well as special focus on the response to the Niuatoputapu Tsunami Disaster Management highlighted by Sione Taumoefolau, of the Tonga Red Cross Society.
The aim is to enhance community awareness about disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, and especially to integrate them into Tonga's development agenda.
In 2009, Tonga have been disrupted by the Niuatoputapu Tsunami Disaster, which have caused human suffering, loss of lives and homes and economic damage. Over half of Niuatoputapu's main settlement areas have been destroyed or were at risk.
There were other issues of concern which included Tonga's vulnerability to world-wide issues like climate change and sea level rise.
Mr Taumoefolau commented that reducing disaster risk is everybody's business, and needs everyone's participation and investment – civil society and professional networks as well as local and central government who are acting to build resilience to climate, environmental and social risks, to re-evaluate the extend of the country's preparedness.
Issued by the: Ministry of Information and Communications, Nuku'alofa, 2010