Tropical Cyclone Gita made landfall in Tonga on 12 February 2018, causing severe damage to the main island of Tongatapu. The cyclone damaged or destroyed almost 2,000 homes, caused the evacuation of over 4,500 people and left more than 80% of homes in Tonga without power. Australia is providing a comprehensive package of support to Tonga that includes addressing immediate needs, helping people return to their homes, reconnecting power throughout Tongatapu, and providing support to the island of ‘Eua, which was also badly affected by the cyclone.
It was only after doing some research into Samoa and the Office of the Ombudsman that I realised what a great opportunity it would be to work with a new NHRI in the Pacific. I was also fascinated with the Samoan way of life (fa’asamoa) and how it would interact with the human rights system.
Australian leadership in the Green Climate Fund – the world’s foremost fund for responding to climate change – is important for regional prosperity and security.