This news has been originally published on the Matangitonga website and republished here with permission.
National planning for disaster risks needs better data collection
Tonga's future management of catastrophes and national planning for disaster risks will be strengthened by improving national information systems and data collection, particularly disaster risk finance data.
About 60 people in Nuku'alofa are this week attending a Stakeholder and Surveyors Training Workshop on risk assessment aimed at improving the Pacific Risk Information System and to strengthen Tonga's capacity for disaster risk management and finance.
The training, which started on 10 May, including virtual presentations, will promote the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Assessment Financing Initiative (PCFAFI) Program II of the Pacific Community (SPC) under Tonga's Ministry of Finance.
Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Finance, Pisila ‘Otunuku in her opening address said, the PCRAF II project benefits Tonga, by contributing towards strengthening disaster risk reduction and disaster risk finance data for Tonga.
She said this included providing assistance in strengthening local institutions to improve and update exposure data for Tonga, which will first build upon the existing capacity in country, and secondly strengthen baseline data that is needed for conducting risk assessments in country.
"Tonga will be able to use this baseline to build upon in further risk assessment work or support provided to Tonga from other development partners.”
"We are very proud of this institutional strengthening in Pacific Island countries including Tonga, as we all know we are very prone to natural hazards in the Pacific region."
She said the generous support of their donor partners, World Bank, SPC and the Pacific Forum Secretariat would go a long way, as better risk information should support Tonga to make smarter investment. A good case was the payout of $10 millon pa'anga from the insurance to Tonga, after the damages from Tropical Cyclone Gita in 2018.
“This important project is part of the Tonga government’s MEIDECC [plan] to assemble a comprehensive inventory of population and properties at risk.
“To improve and update the Pacific Risk Information System is the major outcome that we expect from this PCRAFI II project. Collection of exposure and impact data, where available, plays an important role in development of improved vulnerability functions, update of PacRIS and risk profiles for Tonga,” she said.
SPC is engaged by the World Bank, under PACRAFI II Program to provide technical services to improve and update the PacRIS, a joint initiative of the Resilience Division of the Ministry of Finance and National Emergency Management Office of MEIDECC.