Why is it that we Tongan people take for granted tsunami warning, earthquakes and volcanic eruption? Who's to blame for not getting the information out there to the public so that they will know how to prepare themselves when these happens?
On March 20, a major 7.9-magnitude earthquake that struck off the Tonga islands region early Friday triggered a tsunami threatening Tonga, Samoa and Fiji.
A tsunami warning was issued by the Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre for Tonga, Niue, Kermadec Islands, American Samoa, Samoa and Fiji.
"An earthquake of this size has the potential to generate a destructive tsunami that can strike coastlines in the region near the epicentre within minutes to hours. Authorities in the region should take appropriate action in response to this possibility," the centre said.
Local radio stations in Tonga broadcast warnings that a tsunami was possible and that people should move away from coastal villages, but police cited locals who said no big wave had been reported.
Niua Kama, a police spokesman, said residents did not appear to take the warning seriously.
"People are out on the roads, laughing at the warning," he told The Associated Press. "They are not moving from the coast" even though there had been "a strong warning of a tsunami. Police have not taken any action at this stage."
There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.
The quake occurred near fault lines in the Pacific "Ring of Fire", where continental plates in the earth's crust meet and earthquakes and volcanic activity are common.
So the question is what should we in the Media do? This is not a reaction that we should expect from the public, and the bottom line is they don't know how to react because we are not doing our job in informing them about precautions to take in such matters.
We have focus our time and energy in covering political stories, for that is the kind of stories that seems to dominate the local media, and we don't cover story about Natural Disasters and Climate Change.
There is a great need from the public to know about such information and if the government is slow and not up to date with these information, we in the media should be doing our job.