Responding to the Hunga Tonga–Hunga Haʻapai volcanic eruption in Tonga and following a request from the Government of Tonga, the World Bank undertook a rapid post-disaster damage assessment deploying the GRADE methodology.1 The objective was to estimate the potential direct damage2 caused by the tephra fall (henceforth referred to as ashfall) and tsunami resulting from the volcanic eruption, to inform the Government’s decision-making on financing needs and support development of a roadmap for recovery and reconstruction. There is considerable uncertainty on the detailed impacts of this event since communications with Tonga have been severely disrupted by the damage to the submarine fiber optics telecommunications cable and COVID-19 restrictions that have hampered efforts to carry out ground assessments. This report is valid as of February 7, 2022.
The event has caused economic damage in the order of T$208.0 (US$90.4) million (Table 1) according to this GRADE assessment. However, a resilient recovery which incorporates ‘build back better’ principles to reconstruct damaged assets to be more resilient will carry immediate and significantly higher costs. There will also be a significant losses component associated with the event due to followon disruption in tourism, commercial, agriculture and infrastructure activities associated with the event. These economic losses have not been estimated as part of this GRADE assessment.