Niue is one of the largest raised coral atolls in the world. It has a jagged and steep coastline, buffering it from all but the worst sea storms. Situated in Polynesia, it is located approximately 480 km east of Tonga and 660 km southeast of Samoa. It has no mountains or rivers, little arable land and limited natural fresh water supplies.
Niue faces a lower degree of natural disaster risk than most Pacific Islands countries due to its geography. However, Niue’s resilience to natural disasters is very low due to its lack of fresh water supplies and remoteness.
Cyclones are the most frequently occurring disaster. The worst cyclone on record, Cyclone Heta, struck Niue in January 2004 killing two people, severely injuring many, and leaving others homeless. It damaged a significant part of the country, including the capital Alofi. In the period immediately after the cyclone, all food had to be imported as agricultural crops had been destroyed. OCHA ROP issued situation reports and released an Emergency Cash Grant of US$20,000.