Left Menu
Development News Edition

UPDATE 2-Climate change campaigner Tongan PM dies in New Zealand

Reuters | Wellington | Updated: 12-09-2019 09:27 IST | Created: 12-09-2019 09:20 IST
UPDATE 2-Climate change campaigner Tongan PM dies in New Zealand
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Tongan Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva, a pro-democracy and climate change campaigner in the South Pacific, died in a New Zealand hospital on Thursday, the information ministry and media reports said.

Pohiva, 78, had been diagnosed earlier this year with a liver complication and was admitted to a hospital in Tonga two weeks ago for pneumonia, the prime minister's office said in a statement on Wednesday. Medical experts decided he should be medically evacuated to New Zealand, it said.

Parliament has been deferred indefinitely, Tongan media said. Known as a champion for democracy, Pohiva's political career was marked with constant battles against the monarchy of the South Pacific nation. He was charged with sedition in wake of pro-democracy riots in the capital Nuku'alofa in 2006.

"Terribly saddened to hear of the passing of Tongan Prime Minister, the Hon. 'Akilisi Pohiva. He was a passionate advocate for his people, for his beloved Tonga & our Pacific family," Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a Twitter post. Pohiva, Tonga's longest-serving member of parliament since he was first elected in 1987, was outspoken about climate change and called for world leaders to help island nations, some of which are battling rising sea levels.

Pohiva also raised concerns about the mounting Chinese debt in the South Pacific. Tonga is heavily indebted to China, with more than 60% of its external debt owed to Beijing through bilateral loans, according to the country's 2019-20 budget.

The small Pacific nation received a reprieve from China last year on the timing of debt repayments after it signed up to China's Belt and Road initiative. "Such a tremendous loss for all of us Tongans," Jenny Salesa, New Zealand's Minister for Ethnic Communities tweeted after the news was reported.

Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said on Twitter that the world must by continue Pohiva's fight for climate action.



South Africa's COVID-19 response: Surprising outcomes or just poor data management?

South Africa has been committed to improving its health information system and shows that a robust digital has considerable scope to improve healthcare for the entire population. But the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that significant ga...

Post-COVID-19 Nigeria needs a robust Health Management Information System to handle high disease burden

Nigeria is among a few countries that conceptualised a health management information system HMIS in the early 90s but implementation has been a challenge till date. Besides COVID-19, the country has a huge burden of communicable and non-com...

Morocco COVID-19 response: A fragile health system and the deteriorating situation

Learning from its European neighbors, Morocco imposed drastic measures from the initial stages of the COVID-19 outbreak to try to contain its spread. The strategy worked for a few months but the cases have surged after mid-June. In this sit...

COVID-19: Argentina’s health system inefficiencies exaggerate flaws of health information system

You can recover from a drop in the GDP, but you cant recover from death, was the straightforward mindset of Argentinas President Alberto Fernndez and defined the countrys response to COVID-19. The South American nation imposed a strict...


Latest News

Tennis-Second seed Pliskova arrests errors to shoot down Sherif

Czech second seed Karolina Pliskova managed to rein in her errors and found a way past battling Egyptian qualifier Mayar Sherif with a 6-79 6-2 6-4 victory in the opening round of the French Open on Tuesday.Former world number one Pliskova ...

Two more months required to kill damaged Baghjan gas well in Assam: Oil India chief

PSU major Oil India Ltd OIL on Tuesday said it will likely take overseas experts two more months to kill its damaged well at Baghjan in Assam, where gas has been gushing out uncontrollably for the last 126 days. Addressing a press conferenc...

Syrian amputee gets new lease of life from designing prosthetics, helping others

Abdelmawla Ibrahim was only 16 when he felt his life was over. While driving through a checkpoint with his family in northern Syria, a stray bullet pierced his left leg, shattering his bones and forcing doctors to amputate it above the knee...

PREVIEW-NBA-Lakers' LeBron faces former Heat team in NBA Finals

An unexpected NBA Finals matchup between the LeBron James-led Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat begins this week, capping an unprecedented season interrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak before resuming without fans at Disney World in Florida. ...

Give Feedback