News Item

Cyclone recovery program uses portable sawmill

News 8 Jun 2018

A cyclone recovery program to assist in rebuilding homes is training Tongans how to safely use a portable sawmill to utilise timber felled by Severe Tropical Cyclone Gita in February.

Last week 32 people were trained under the PHAMA program implemented by MORDI.

MORDI (Mainstreaming of Rural Development Innovation) Tonga Trust General Manager Soane Patolo said the program was helping the trainees maximize their use of fallen trees, with little to no waste.

It also helped connect people and build a network among portable sawmill operators who now work together as part of a joint response team. The training included different approaches to cutting trees that included classroom and practical sessions, where participants operated the sawmill on their own, he said.

The timber will go towards the reconstruction of homes.

Participants from the Ministry of Agriculture, LDS, Tonga National Youth Congress, Tupou College and MORDI took part in the training supported by the Australian and New Zealand funded Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA).

PHAMA purchased the high quality portable sawmill which was around AUD$20,000 and supplied chainsaws, safety equipment, and a certified trainer from Australia, Lindsay Vutilolo. The sawmill is now in ‘Eua to be used by MORDI as part of their disaster response and assist to rebuild homes.

The Ministry of Agriculture and LDS are planning to purchase portable sawmills to assist with the cyclone recovery efforts.

On June 1, certificates of completion were awarded to particpants in the training, which was held at MORDI Tonga in Haveluloto.

Source: Matangi Tonga