Tokelau means 'North Wind' and consists of three atolls (Fakaofo, Nukunonu, and Atafu) located approximately 720 km north-west of Samoa. It has a combined land area of 12 km² and is no more than 2 m above sea level. Tokelau is a Polynesian territory of New Zealand and has a population of only 1,400 people.
Tokelau is most vulnerable to tropical cyclones which are becoming more severe and frequent due to climate change. The most recent disaster event was Tropical Cyclone Percy that hit Tokelau in February 2005 causing damage to vegetation and infrastructure. Three cyclones in the late 1980s and early 1990s also caused extensive damage.
Changing weather patterns and high sea level rises are expected to impact Tokelau’s long-term survival. Its resilience to natural disasters is considered low due to its remoteness, inaccessibility by air or sea port, and lack of fresh water supply.