AFAP manages the Australian-Pacific Centre for Emergency and Disaster Information (APCEDI) to provide news on natural disaster events in the Asia-Pacific region and to help with rapid disaster response assessment. This was originally a communications network that was activated during a disaster to disseminate information to our Asia-Pacific NGO offices. Now APCEDI has a much wider application across the Asia-Pacific Region.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

APCEDI Alert 07P, Cyclone Heta #9, 2004

Dear Colleagues

Alert #9 / 06 January 2004, Sydney 13:00 EDT

The Niua Group, Tonga Preliminary Assessment

Ms Dawn Pale’soo, AFAP/FSPI’s Disaster Program Coordinator has just been in touch with Maliu Takai the NDMO Director in Tonga.

Communications have now been restored with both Tafahi and Niuatoputapu as the satellite dish which was dismantled last night has been able to be reconstructed and a preliminary report has been delivered. Damage is widespread but has in fact been less than expected, but it is severe in the agricultural sector with most crops destroyed. An Assessment team with leave tomorrow and include NDMO, Works, Red Cross and MAFF.

No injuries or loss of life has been reported but some structural damage as follows:

Niuatoputapu: 11 residential houses affected, of which 10 houses had their roofs ripped off, main sector affected was agricultural sector especially affected were the fruit bearing trees.

Tafahi: 1 building destroyed and again agricultural sector worst affected.

Niuafo’ou: Minimal infrastructure damage, some crop damage, power restored.

Given the proximity of the Category 5 storm, this is a good result, and this is obviously a very useful system for communications which should be considered for remote islands in other parts of the Pacific.

More detailed information about the storm can be found on

Kevin Vang
APCEDI Coordinator

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