Ministry promises hundreds of new homes after being bombarded with complaints

Tonga’s Ministry of Infrastructure has promised to build 400 new houses in the Ha’apai islands after being bombarded with complaints about the slowness of its reconstruction problem.

Infrastructure Minister ‘Etuate Lavulavu said his ministry would repair the same number of houses in the next four months.

The islands were battered by Cyclone Ian in 2014 and most of the houses and many public facilities were destroyed.

About 5500 people – about three quarters of the islands’ population – were affected.

But in the 14 months since the disaster, only 26 houses have been built.

Hon. Lavulavu said his ministry had received 359 complaints from Ha’apai residents.

He said he was dealing with the complaints one by one.

The World Bank has helped Tonga’s rebuilding project with $12 million in grants and low interest loans provided through its Crisis Response Window facility.

Hon. Lavulavu said when World Bank agents met him and the Finance Minister in Tonga recently they raised their concerns about the situation.

He said he agreed with World Bank agents that the rebuilding project must be completed by July this year.

The joint World Bank and Tonga government Cyclone Ian Reconstruction and Climate Resilience Project originally planned to build up to 350 one room houses.

The rebuilding project includes repairing damaged houses and reinforce existing houses to withstand future cyclones.

Hon. Lavulavu said bids and tenders for the building work had already been called.

The main points

  • Tonga’s Ministry of Infrastructure has promised to build 400 new houses in the Ha’apai islands after being bombarded with complaints about the slowness of its reconstruction problem.
  • The islands were battered by Cyclone Ian in 2014 and most of the houses and many public facilities were destroyed.
  • But in the 14 months since the disaster, only 26 houses have been built.
  • Infrastructure Minister ‘Etuate Lavulavu said the World Bank had also raised concerns about the situation.

For more information

World Bank Supports Disaster Reconstruction and Recovery in Tonga (World Bank)

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