Tongan takes over as head of weather association amidst warnings on climate change

'Ofa Fa'anunu

NUKU’ALOFA, 30 OCTOBER 2018 (KANIVA TONGA NEWS) -Tonga’s MET Service Director, ‘Ofa Fa’anunu has been elected president of the World Meteorological Organisation Regional Association at a time when climate change has been named the most serious threat to Pacific nations.

He was elected during the association’s South-West Pacific meeting in Nuku’alofa earlier this month.

Fa’anunu is the first Tongan to hold the position and will serve for four-years.

He takes over from Andi Eka Sakya, Director General of the Indonesian Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics.

Minister responsible for Meteorology, Hon. Poasi Tei said this was quite an achievement for Tonga.

At the meeting, attention focussed on the need to accelerate climate change adaptation and improve multi-hazard early warning systems to increase resilience to extreme weather.

Tonga is ranked number two in the world risk index of the most vulnerable countries to the increasing effects of natural disasters.

Prime Minister ‘AKilisi Pohiva told the meeting climate change remained the single greatest threat to the livelihoods, security and wellbeing of the peoples of the Pacific.

“Our island nations will face huge challenges ahead and the grave risks of exceeding 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels – an upper limit of warming small islands states have advocated for many years.

“We no longer have time for complacency or delay on taking action to avert dangerous climate change.

“Extreme weather events such as tropical cyclones, floods and drought experienced in the Pacific and in Asia in the recent years continue to affect our economies.”

Tonga is spending more than US$40 million to upgrade its multi hazard early warning system.

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