TC Gita Emergency Preparedness and Response A Comprehensive Review and Lessons Learnt
February 12 2018, near midnight, severe Tropical Cyclone (TC Gita) to impact Tonga made landfall on the islands of Tongatapu and ‘Eua. This resulted in severe impacts to infrastructure and agriculture across the two main islands. However, due to the efforts of the MET Service and emergency response team, no lives were lost.
Tonga has officially adopted the Clusters approach to humanitarian and emergency relief for the first time during the response to TC Gita. To understand how the cluster system performed in practice, Tonkin + Taylor International were contracted by the UNDP to carry out an After Action Review to assist National Emergency Management Office (NEMO). The aim of this review was to determine gaps, overlaps and successes within the cluster approach and leverage opportunities from lessons learned to enhance Tonga’s ability to respond effectively and minimise impacts in future events.
The review incorporated a multi-stakeholder approach with individual interviews and two workshops held with all response agencies to understand their lessons learned. Analysis focused on the role of these lessons for the cluster mechanism and how they can be incorporated into planning and response for all future cyclones. An indicator-based approach was used to determine the different elements for each cluster’s response at a high level.
This report examines the limitations and impact of the overarching regulatory and policy framework and details how the clusters responded. In response to identified gaps, overlaps and offers detailed recommendations with an action plan for each cluster to be implemented before the next significant Tropical Cyclone. The objective is to take advantage of this opportunity for improvement, and to effectively and efficiently apply lessons learned within the current cluster management system thus assisting Tonga to become more resilient to future disasters. Government leadership provided some semblance of stability in co-ordination amidst confusion and clarity of roles.
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