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Droughts in Tonga

Droughts occur during the dry season in Tonga and seriously affect the revenue earnings, livelihoods of people, and food supply, which are mostly exported. During the droughts that took place in 1983, 1998 and 2006, both sweet potatoes and coconuts saw a decrease in growth. This trend was also seen in the many root crops, like taro and cassava, which many people rely on for food. The 1998 and 2014 droughts reduced squash exports by 52% and 69% respectively.

In 2021, drought warning was issued in Niuafo’ou, Niuatoputapu and Tongatapu, and Ha’apai as these regions received only 25% of their average monthly rainfall in the month of September. The drought and the impacts of ash cover and ash fall due to the recent volcanic eruption resulted in damages to 30-95% of crops in Tongatapu (depending on the crop and location)

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