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Pacific Islands Multi-Country Office: Humanitarian Situation in Tonga Report No. 3 - As of 21 Jan 2022

Countries
Tonga
+ 1 more
Sources
UNICEF
Publication date

Highlights

  • The Tonga Government has declared a State of Emergency until 13 February 2022 in the light of the impact of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haa’pai volcanic eruption and tsunami.

  • Government reported that 85,000 people (84% of their population) are affected, including 36,500 children.

  • UNICEF is appealing for USD 2.7 million to provide lifesaving support to children and their families in Tonga.

  • Some 10 metric tons of UNICEF emergency supplies, including WASH kits, recreational kits, and medicines, are already on their way to Tonga.

Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs

The Tonga Government declared a State of Emergency until 13 February 2022 in the light of the impact of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haa’pai volcanic eruption and tsunami. The Government estimates that 84 percent of its population (around 85,000) are affected by the disaster. Preliminary results of initial damage assessment conducted by government in Tongatapu, ‘Eua and Ha’apai island groups show that 33 houses were completely destroyed, and 238 other houses suffered severe to moderate damage. Three persons were confirmed killed and the number of injured are still being determined.

About 150 residents of Mango and Fonoi islands which were nearest the volcano have been evacuated to Nomuka island.

Safe water has been the most expressed need. The Tonga Water Board has tested the water supplies in the capital Nukualofa and declared it to be safe for drinking, but most people still rely on bottled water. Tests are still being done in other areas and water remains a main priority. Communications remain a challenge even as a cell phone service provider re-established international voice services in Tongatapu, as this network became congested rapidly. Initial relief supplies from the Governments of Australia and New Zealand have started to arrive in Tonga through “no-contact” deliveries. The borders of Tonga remain closed to foreigners and COVID-19 restrictions are still in place.