UNDP team visits Tsunami-ravaged Tonga

07 Oct 2009

Nukualofa – Two senior officials of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are undertaking a mission to the island kingdom of Tonga this week, in the follow up to the tsunami disaster.

UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Knut Ostby, is in Nukualofa, accompanying the New York based UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR), Jordan Ryan.

Mr. Ryan, who is representing the UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, arrived in Tonga yesterday where he met Government officials as well as the representative of the Red Cross and donors. Today Mr Ryan met with the Prime Minister of Tonga, Right Honourable Dr. Feleti Vaka’uta Sevele. In the meeting with the Prime Minister, Mr. Ryan expressed the condolences of UNDP to the Tongan citizens affected by the tsunami.

“UNDP is ready to support the Government of Tonga, in partnership with the UN family and donors, to assist the people of Niuatoputapu to rebuild their lives as quickly as possible. UNDP is also keen to support national efforts to reduce the risk of future disasters,” Mr. Ryan said.

UNDP immediately released USD50,000 to support emergency activities in response to the tsunami in Tonga. Mr. Ryan also announced to the Prime Minister that an additional amount of USD250,000 is available upon the joint determination of the Government of Tonga and UNDP of its best use with respect to early recovery for the communities affected.

In addition to disaster recovery, UNDP’s programme in Tonga focuses on poverty reduction and attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, support to Parliament and environment and sustainable management projects.

Background: In the morning of 29 September, a powerful earthquake struck south of the main Samoan Island chain with its epicentre 190 km south of the Samoan capital of Apia. Niuatoputapu in Tonga is seriously affected by the quake-triggered tsunami waves that also hit American Samoa and Samoa last week.

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UNDP's work in crisis prevention and recovery

Contact Information

For further information: Contact Reama Biumaiono; reama.biumaiono@undp.org/ 3227704 or Saeba Bajoghli; saeba.bajoghli@undp.org /3227759.