Tonga’s first PDNA training to enhance preparedness and response capacity to natural disasters

29th August, 2017 The Deputy Prime Minister Hon Siaosi Sovaleni officially opened Tonga’s first Post-Disaster Needs Assessments (PDNA) Training at Tanoa International Dateline Hotel this morning.

Funded by the United Nations Development Programme and co-hosted by the Ministry of MEIDECC, the four-day training aimed to enhance preparedness and response capacity of the country to future disasters and to ensure that comprehensive assessment of economic loss and social impacts are adequately calculated for better post-disaster recovery actions.

Speaking to more than forty participants from line ministries and stakeholders, Hon Sovaleni said Tonga is one of the countries that are highly vulnerable to natural hazards.“The country faces a number of hazards including earthquakes, tsunami, cyclone and storm surges. The impact on the islands can be great. Tonga reported 34 natural hazard-related disasters over the 30-year period of 1983-2012, at a reported cost of 104 million US$ (2012 values).”He stated that over half of the events documented were accompanied by no economic estimate of their cost at all.“The conventional economic assessment of disaster had at the time focused on assessing the costs of physical damage arising from disaster events, without  consideration of the losses (flow-on costs) arising from the damage such as loss of earnings, impacts upon businesses and so on.

”Hon Sovaleni said a complete understanding of the economic impact of a disaster is vital to strategic planning for recovery and rehabilitation as well as future risk reduction, hence the increasing interest in the use of PDNA in the Pacific.He said that PDNAs target the full economic assessment of a disaster event and combine it with an assessment of social impacts such as impacts on livelihoods, critical amenities, coping strategies and special interest group to inform post disaster planning.He urged participants to use the opportunity to benefit from so that Tonga can benefit from their expertise when needed.

Facilitator of the training, Assessor and Trainer Dr Asha Kambon from Trinidad and Tobago said, “This training is to ensure that leading technical groups and senior technician in Tonga are able to lead an assessment of disaster should any occur.”

Dr Kambon said Hon Sovaleni spoke about the number of disaster occurred over the time and he also pointed out that there are some missing details and this training will help people understand how to capture data all the data so there will be no missing data.“One of the critical thing about the training it not only help us understand about the cost of the event but how to turn that cost into the cost of recovery.

”“Because government want at the end of the day to know what is the cost of disaster, how many people have been affected, what has happened to their livelihood, they want to understand what is going to be the cost of recovery to get people back up and to get our society to back up and running and that’s what the post disaster needs assessment want.”

Dr Kambon stated that PDNA not only teaches people how to calculate the cost of a disaster and recovery but to also understand how long a recovery will take.



Issued by the: Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications.