Protecting human life by introducing early warning system in the Kingdom of Tonga

Protecting human life by introducing early warning system in the Kingdom of Tonga

# Public Sector # ICT # Archtecture # Overseas # Telecommunication # Oceania # Disaster Risk Management

Establishment of nationwide disaster communication system

The Kingdom of Tonga is an island country located in the South Pacific Ocean and consists of 176 islands of various sizes. Because Tonga is located adjacent to the Tonga trench which is an earthquake-prone area, the risk of earthquake and tsunami is high. In addition, it is difficult to efficiently disseminate warnings and promptly respond to in the event of disaster because the population is concentrated in the coastal areas and dispersed across many islands. Under these circumstances, the Government of Tonga has developed the "Tonga Strategic Development Framework II" as the national development plan for 10 years from 2015, and has promoted projects to strengthen disaster management systems.

This Project aims to reduce the damages and prevent the loss of lives as caused by natural disasters by promptly transferring information about disaster warning and safety to the people and organizations across Tonga, and developing facilities and equipment needed for expanding the scope of information transfer.

  • Planning for construction of facilities for the early warning system

Introducing reliable radio and siren facilities, and improving medium-wave radio broadcasting equipment

This Project was implemented under Grant Aid scheme of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). We conducted a field survey in 2017-2018. As a result, we found problems such as a long delay in transfer of disaster information, inadequate operation of the existing audio broadcasting equipment, deteriorated radio broadcasting equipment, and inadequate radio coverage. In order to solve such problems, we planned for the needed construction works and procurement of equipment. As for the construction works, we rehabilitated the TV and radio broadcasting building and medium-wave (MW) transmitter hut managed by the Tonga Broadcasting Commission (TBC), which is the only public broadcaster covering the whole country and is located in the capital city Nuku'alofa in Tongatapu Island. As for procurement of equipment, we primarily installed and upgraded the emergency radio communication system, early warning sound alert system, and MW radio broadcasting system. These works began in February 2019 and are scheduled to be completed in 2020.

The emergency radio communication system will be dedicated to organizations related to disaster prevention and used for communications among those organizations. The early warning sound alert system consist of operating the sirens, transferring early warnings from the government, and notifying on evacuation of the residents in areas hit by tsunamis. The MV radio broadcast system managed by TBC will improve the infrastructure of the system and the reception quality in remote islands, which are more than 600 km from the capital city. These systems will alert and enable faster evacuation.

  • Infographic on the early warning system

Project Details

    Project : The Project for Introduction of Nationwide Early Warning System and Strengthening Disaster Communications
    Client : Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications (MEIDECC)