ADB hands Tonga $6.8m grant to strengthen electricity network

18 Jun 18

The Asian Development Bank has approved a $6.8m grant to help the government of Tonga reconstruct and improve disaster resilience of its electricity network.

The funds will help the network of the Pacific Island state’s capital Nuku’alofa, which was damaged by Cyclone Gita in February this year.

The country’s energy provider Tonga Power Limited and government of Tonga will also contribute $1.48m and $1.14m respectively to the recovery project, which is expected to cost about $9.42m in total.

ADB climate change specialist Hanna Uusimaa said: “Cyclone Gita damaged and destroyed buildings livelihoods and power lines.

“This project aims to build back better and restore a reliable electricity supply to priority areas in Tonga’s capital Nuku’alofa.”

The funds will help upgrade the electricity network to a higher standard of disaster resilience, the bank said.

The islands of Tonga in the South Pacific were devastated by Cyclone Gita on 12 February, which caused damage to electricity lines, churches and vital crops. It was the worst cyclone to pass the main islands in 60 years.

The government has estimated that the reconstruction of the whole energy sector across its islands will cost $45.9m.

The Asian bank is working with the government of New Zealand, which is also supporting the reconstruction of Tonga’s power post-cyclone.

ADB provided $6m in assistance in February under its Pacific Disaster Resilience Programme and $1m under the ADB-supported Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund for humanitarian relief efforts.

Tonga consists of more than 170 South Pacific islands, many of which are uninhabited.

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