In Tonga, churches and town halls are being used as emergency/evacuation shelter during disaster events. Often churches support in undertaking assessments (e.g., needs assessment, damage assessment), due to their close relationship with community members. NEMO working with town officers and community leaders to improve infrastructure in evacuation centres in order to encourage more people to use the facilities when needed.
Between 2008 and 2020, disasters have triggered about 18,000 displacements in the country. Weather-related events such as tropical cyclones are the main triggers of the displacements. The 2018 Tropical Cyclone Gita affected around 80,000 people (80% of Tonga’s population), completely destroyed 800 houses, and partially damaged nearly 4,000 houses. During this event, around more than 4,000 people were accommodated in more than 100 evacuation centres, which caused difficulties for emergency and response operations.