1.1 Tuvalu Humanitarian Background

Disasters, Conflicts and Migration

Tuvalu’s southernmost island of Niulakita is located within the tropical cyclone boundaries of the South-West Pacific. However, this does not exempt the northern eight islands from adverse effects of tropical cyclone and extreme events.  

The wet season of Tuvalu is plagued by tropical depressions that could become tropical cyclones or destructive hurricanes.  

Natural hazards in Tuvalu include tropical cyclones, storm surge, drought, inundation, coastal erosion and pest infestation. 

Each year, one or a combination of natural hazards, adversely affects the livelihood of the people on all of the islands.   

Natural Disasters 



Comments / Details 



Drinking water is largely reliant on rainwater harvesting. Droughts are becoming more prevalent  



Biggest threat posed by Tsunami in the wake of earthquakes in the region. 



Dengue fever, most recent 2019. Covid 2022 

Extreme Temperatures 


Extremes are becoming more prevalent as climate changes occur 



King tides and rising ocean levels 

Insect Infestation 


Yellow Crazy Ant. On Funafuti, the YCA has destroyed crops and attacked animals such as chickens, land crabs, hermit crabs, and coconut crabs, and it threatens seabird populations 

Coconut scale insect which has severely infested the coconut palms, breadfruit, papaya, bananas, and pandanus 




Volcanic Eruptions 



High Waves / Surges 


King tides and rising ocean levels flood low lying areas also adversely effect subterranean fresh water lenses  




High Winds 


The threat of tropical cyclones is ever-present during period Nov.-April 

Other Comments 


Man-Made Issues 

Civil Strife 



International Conflict 



Internally Displaced Persons 



Refugees Present 



Landmines / UXO Present 



Other Comments 



Due to the low-lying nature of the atolls, rising sea levels arising from climate change compound existing threats. In terms of priority, the greatest disaster threats facing Tuvalu are cyclone, drought and tsunami 

For a more detailed database on disasters by country, please see the Centre for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters  - please note that no data is currently available for Tuvalu

Seasonal Effects on Logistics Capacities

Seasonal Effects on Transport 

Transport Type 

Time Frame 

Comments / Details 

Primary Road Transport 

Wet/cyclone Season Nov - April 

During the period November to April cyclones may present short-term disruption to air and sea transport 

Secondary Road Transport 

Wet/cyclone Season Nov - April 

Rail Transport 


Air Transport 

Wet/cyclone Season Nov - April 

Waterway Transport 

Wet/cyclone Season Nov - April 

Seasonal Effects on Storage and Handling 

Activity Type 

Time Frame 

Comments / Details 





Nov. - April 

During the period November to April heavy rains may result in damage during loading/unloading and transporting perishable goods. 

Capacity and Contacts for In-Country Emergency Response


The National Disaster Council is the principal executing body at national level acting on behalf of Cabinet. The NDC is the peak decision-making body during times of disaster, providing advice to Cabinet on strategic decisions e.g. the need for international assistance.  

The Council comprises: 

  • Secretary to Government (Chair) 
  • Commissioner of Police 
  • Secretary – Ministry of Home Affairs and Rural Development 
  • Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development 
  • Secretary, Ministry of Natural Resources 
  • Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tourism, Trade, Environment and Labour 
  • Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communications and Transport 
  • Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health 
  • Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Public Utilities and Infrastructure 
  • Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports 
  • Permanent Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) 
  • Director, Public Works 
  • Secretary, Funafuti Kaupule (traditional assembly of elders on each of the islands of Tuvalu) 
  • General Secretary, Tuvalu Red Cross 
  • Disaster Policy Coordinator (Director NDMO)

On occasion, partner agencies may be invited to sit in NDC meetings as observers. 

When a disaster is declared, Foreign Affairs notifies international partners (governments, humanitarian agencies etc.) if assistance is needed 

The role of the Police during disasters is to act as first responders during emergencies and on the outer islands often take the leadership role during disasters/emergencies in coordination with the Disaster Island Committee and assist in assessment and distribution of relief supplies.   

There is no military force and no defence or civil defence assets, In the event that military aid is supplied from overseas, the Police Commissioner would be the focal point for interaction. 

For more information on government contact details, please see the following link:  4.1 Government Contact List


The Tuvalu Red Cross delivers programmes on Disaster Management, Health and First Aid. It operates from national to community levels in providing disaster preparedness and response support. 

Red Cross has prepositioned NFI stocks in 20’ containers on the islands of Nanumaga, Nanumea, Niu. Nukufetau, Niutao, Nukulaelae, Vaitupu in addition to stocks at the main depot in Funafuti. 

See Annex 5.6 

The Australian High Commission as represented by the Maritime Surveillance Advisor based with the police. The Maritime Surveillance Advisor provides support through the Australian delivered Defence Cooperation Programme. The Advisor provides a number of support activities in areas such as maritime security, border control, search and rescue support. 

The NZ Aid Programme has an office however it is not a fully-fledged High Commission; rather the office manages projects funded by New Zealand as well as any assistance work funded by New Zealand. 

There is a joint UN office in Tuvalu. During crises, the Joint Presence Office (JPO) reports to UNDSS and the UNDP office in Suva.  

UNDP has a permanent staff and ongoing projects including the Tuvalu Coastal Adaption Project (TCAP) aimed at reducing vulnerability and resilience building in relation to climate risks (more information available at https://tcap.tv/about-tcap) for a list of their other ongoing programmes please see Annex 5.2

UNICEF is present and running programmes centring on child welfare in schools, health and immunisation. 

For more information on humanitarian agency contact details, please see the following link: 4.2 Humanitarian Agency Contact List 


National disaster risk management structure for Tuvalu (during crisis) 



























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