SPC Geoscience Division

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Newsflash

12 March 2014, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji – A rapid post-disaster assessment recently conducted by specialists from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) will help Tongan emergency managers better understand the impacts of Cyclone Ian and prepare for future storms.

In early January, Cyclone Ian devastated parts of Tonga, particularly in the Ha’apai island group. The category-five storm killed one person, injured 14 others, displaced more than 4,000 people, and destroyed food crops and infrastructure.

In the wake of this storm, Tongan authorities requested assistance from SPC’s Geoscience Division (GSD) to assess damages on island of Lifuka in the Ha’apai Group.

‘They wanted us to provide technical data on the extent of inundation and erosion in coastal zones as well as water supplies and groundwater contamination in Lifuka,’ SPC Senior Technical Assistant and Oceanographer Zulfikar Begg explains. ‘They also asked us to train their geology staff so that they could do the same rapid assessments in the outer islands.’