Safeguarding communities in Tonga after the 2022 volcanic eruption and tsunami


The eruption of the Hunga-Tonga Hunga-Ha’Apai volcano on 15th January 2022 generated a tsunami that devastated the north coast of Tongatapu and Eua and Ha’apai island groups.  Kanokupolu, on the northwest coast of Tongatapu was one of the communities most severely impacted.

Here a rock revetment was overtopped by the tsunami waves and large boulders were dislodged allowing sea water to reach coastal lands and properties.


Damage to the Kanokupolu revetment post-tsunami

The Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment,
Climate Change and Communications (MEIDECC) in Tonga requested the European Union-funded Global Climate Change Alliance Plus Scaling up Pacific Adaptation (GCCA+ SUPA) project to change the focus of the project activities in Tonga from scaling-up coastal protection measures to remedial measures to repair the Kanokupolu revetment and safeguard the community from seawater inundation and flooding. An engineering assessment and design was prepared in May 2022.

On 1st November 2022 a ground-breaking ceremony took place.  Mr Paula Ma’u, Chief Executive Officer, MEIDECC launched the start of the project.  The ground-breaking ceremony was also attended by Mr Metui Taukei’aho, Town Officer for Kanokupolu, Mr Tevita Holoia, Chairman of the Hihifo Council, Kanokupolu community members and the contractor for the works.

Once completed the Kanokupolu communities will be provided security for their livelihoods and properties through the re-construction of the Kanokupolu coastal revetment.