Update on Niuatoputapu (Tonga) Post-Tsunami; Casualty List

The Prime Minister of Tonga released the casualty list of deaths on the island of Niuatoputapu as a result of the tsunami on the morning of Tuesday 29th September 2009.They are:
1. Losalio Lefai
2. Sefo Lefai
3. Toni Lefai (child)
4. Tina Lefai (infant)
5. Kalolo Kivalu
6. Lesina Tupouto’a
7. Tu’ulomia Tavake
8. Heneli Losalu
9. Lupe PukengaRest In Peace.

Official reports state seven people on the island were seriously injured as a result of the tsunami. The earthquake and tsunami totally destroyed 89 houses, and damaged another 56. That’s out of a total of 225 houses on Niuatoputapu.

Public buildings were also destroyed and water and sanitation systems seriously damaged. The Government of Tonga provided emergency assistance with the help from Red Cross, church groups, and private Tongan citizens. The Australian, French and New Zealand Defence Forces respond to Tonga’s call for assistance and have been on the island helping to rebuild infrastructure and deliver much needed food and other supplies.


The Tongan Government has been expressed concern about the early warning system and is currently preparing a recovery plan and seeking international help to improve it.

Assessment teams from the UN, various government ministries, AusAID have been on the island looking at gaps in humanitarian assistance, early recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction. The hospital was totally destroyed along with all medical equipment including generator, water tank, steriliser, everything. All health records have been lost. A church was used as a temporary clinic on Niuatoputapu.

New Zealand’s Navy the HMNZS Canterbury delivered 15 pallets of supplies donated by the Tongan communities in New Zealand.

Primary schools in Hihifo and Falehau have been partly damaged and will require long term reconstruction. The high school was used as an operation centre for the tsunami relief operation on Niuatoputapu. A situational report indicates that school supplies are among the most urgently needed items.

Landline communications have now been restored on the island. United Nations says crops and livestock on Niuatoputapu are reportedly mostly intact (which sounds incredible to me). A numbers of boats, however, were lost to sea.

The New Zealand Red Cross dispatched a desalination plant and an engineer to Niuatoputapu to repair the water supply system. It requires major rehabilitation. Many of the water tanks on the island were damaged.


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