The adverse impact of climate change is now experienced in Tonga.
Two category 5 intensity tropical cyclones were felt in the Pacific Tonga included in the last two years.
One happened in January last year and the latest one was Cyclone Pam that battered Vanuatu earlier this year.
The MEIDECC Minister, Hon. Siaosi Sovaleni revealed this when Parliament was deliberating on its 2014 Annual Report.
Sovaleni said this was rare in the past as Cyclone category 5 generally happens once in every 5-10 years.
Category 5 is the strongest hurricane that can form on planet Earth.
Hon. Sovaleni says Tonga is now experiencing the impacts of climate change with increased intensity of tropical cyclones and sea level rise among others.
He told Parliament the Climate Change Division is therefore operates to increase resilience to the impacts of climate change to address issues relating to the adverse impacts of climate change.
In its Annual report, it stated that climate change is one of the priority objectives of its National Development Plan and budgetary processes.
The Government of Tonga understands the detrimental impacts of climate change includes increased temperature in atmospheric and sea surface temperature, increased intensity of tropical cyclones, heavy rainfall, drought, sea level rise, inland and coastal inundation and erosion and so forth to its
Meanwhile Vava’u Noble Representative Lord Tu’ilakepa calls on Government to pay special attention to the problems of water shortage faced by the islands.
Tu’ilakepa also noted from the parliamentary constituency visits, people are now facing water shortage.
“Community water projects experience shortage of water supply. Locals rely on rain water. I thank the Government for its initiative to provide machinery that converts seawater into water in Ha’apai and remain a water supply for the people,” said Tu’ilakepa.
He said the outer islands is the most disadvantaged by the impacts of climate change compared to Tonga. Tu’ilakepa was concerned due to information in the MEIDECC annual report that prolonged drought is predicted to be felt in Tonga in the coming months.
He said growers are afraid to take up commercial farming because of the costs involved. However
he maintained Tonga should be prepared for the impact of climate change.
The Hon. Minister of Infrastructure ‘Etuate Lavulavu said MEIDECC 2014 Annual Report reflects the need for Tonga to care for our environment to ensure public safety.