More people affected by flooding, emergency fund in question

Heavy rain in Tonga continued last night causing more flooding and evacuations in Tongatapu.

Concerns now mounted after the Prime Minister ʻAkilisi Pohiva said the government has no money to help people who were affected.

The opposition asked the government to explain what happened to the emergency fund allocated in the last national bugdet to assist the people in times of natural disaster.

The Minister of Finance said the money should come from the Ministry of Disaster Management’s budget.

The most affected areas were in Nukuʻalofa including Halaano, Halaʻovave and part of  Ngeleʻia and Kolofoʻou, the Prime Minister ʻAkilisi Pōhiva told Parliament.

Pōhiva said it has been for four years now these areas were affected when there was flooding.

The Prime Minister said about 60 percent of those living in these areas had been evacuated.

He apologised to the public while he was announcing in the House that there was no money to help the people who were affected.

He said the government is working on a new project to fix drainages in these areas so that the water could be drained into the seas.

The project according to Pōhiva was initiated after it found out the recent road construction was not professionally conducted and planned to make sure the drainages could allow the water to flow freely in times of flooding.

Health issues

There was fear of raw sewage oozing up in backyards that could wash into flooded homes adding a potential health crisis to the public in general.

Lord Nuku raised his concern about this in the House and said this could hugely affect residences and schools.

He said he was concerned about the claim by the government that there was no money as this issue was national and there was direct impact on the lives of the people.

He said every year the government announced its allocation on its budget for national emergencies but now they said they have no money.

We have asked the Secretary of Finance to tell us about the said emergency fund but we have yet to receive his response at the time this story was written.

The Deputy Prime Minister told the House the government has already announced Police and his Ministry were standing-by and prepared to assist anyone who need helps.

Analysts believed this was one of the most severe rains fell in Tonga during the last four decades

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