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Asia and the Pacific: Weekly Regional Humanitarian Snapshot (11 - 17 January 2022)

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An eruption of the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha-apai underwater volcano on 15 January caused a tsunami and ash fall in Tonga, with a 5km wide and 20km high plume of ash, steam and gas. The eruption was one of the biggest in Tonga in the past 30 years. Following the eruption, a tsunami wave of 1.2 metres hit the coastline in and around the capital city, Nuku’alofa, causing flooding and damage to buildings and infrastructure. The scale of the damage on the main island of Tongatapu, where the capital is located, and other outlying islands is still unclear at the time of reporting due to access and communication challenges.

The main island Tongatapu remains covered with approximately 2 cm of ash and there are concerns about access to safe water, damage to crops and air quality. Satellite imagery also suggest that there is ash coverage, damage to infrastructure and houses, and flooding across multiple other islands. As of 17 January, there has been particular concerns about the situation in two small low-lying islands, Mango and Fonoi. On 17 January, Australia and New Zealand conducted surveillance flights to determine the scale of the damage and likely needs. Following the eruption, tsunami warnings were issued for Fiji, Samoa, and Vanuatu, as well as for Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the US, although these have been lifted. The volcano remains active.

UN agencies and NGOs working in Tonga are preparing to respond to emerging needs, with support from humanitarian partners through the Pacific Humanitarian Teams in Fiji.


On 14 January, a 6.7 magnitude earthquake at a depth of 10 km struck offshore near the coast of southern Banten province and caused damages to an estimated 1,700 houses. The earthquake was also felt in the capital ciy Jakarta, home to some 11 million people.

The Indonesian Meteorological, Climatological and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has recorded more than 40 aftershocks, including two above 5.0 magnitude.

Local government agencies, the Indonesian Red Cross, and the Ministry of Social Affairs are conducting assessments and providing basic humanitarian needs, including food, water and shelter.


Fighting between the Myanmar Armed Forces (MAF) and ethnic armed organisations (EAOs) and/or local People’s Defence Forces (PDFs) continued during the reporting period, with heavy shelling and airstrikes, mainly in Kayah and Kayin states. As of 13 January, more than half the population of Loikaw Township in Kayah State have been displaced to community centres, religious buildings and into the jungle. An estimated 5,000 people sought refuge in Taunggyi Township in southern Shan, while 1,000 people fled to Mae Hong Son Province in Thailand. At least 650 houses and other civilian properties, including churches, monasteries and schools have reportedly been burnt or destroyed in Kayah State since May 2021. In Kayin State, more than 22,000 people have been forced to flee their homes since mid-December 2021. Overall, according to UNHCR, as of 10 January 2022, an estimated 377,800 people remain internally displaced in Myanmar, including 200,400 IDPs (53 per cent) in the southeast and 157,500 IDPs (41 per cent) in the northwest. About 2,800 people remain displaced in Thailand.


A 5.3 magnitude earthquake at a depth of 18.8km struck in Qadis District, Badghis Province, on 17 January. Initial reports indicate that 26 people were reportedly killed, four people injured, and hundreds of houses were damaged or destroyed. Heavy rains in the area prior to the earthquake reportedly rendered mud brick houses more vulnerable to damage. People whose homes have been damaged or destroyed are being hosted by their relatives and other members of their communities. Preliminary reports indicate that food, shelter, and non-food items, and heating materials are most urgently needed. An inter-agency assessment team is being deployed to the affected areas in Qadis District on 18 January. Initial emergency support will also be provided in the form of hot meals, mobile health teams, and the distribution of water purification tablets, hygiene kits, and water kits. 4

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