Tagata Pasifika The Pacific voice on New Zealand television since 1987

Save the Children charity ready to respond in Tonga

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
Possible tsunami wave breaches Tonga's main island
Source: Dr Faka’iloatonga Taumoefolau

An eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai underwater volcano, about 65 kilometres north of Tonga’s capital of Nuku’alofa, caused a 1.2 metre tsunami at 5:30pm local time Saturday 15 January.

Save the Children Fiji CEO Shairana Ali said the organisation was closely monitoring the situation and was prepared to respond where needed.

“The booms from the eruption of the Tonga volcano could be clearly heard in Fiji,” said Ms Ali.

“Our thoughts have been for the safety of our Tongan brothers and sisters, and Save the Children is well-placed to assist as needed.”

The immediate concern in Tonga is for air and water safety due to ash and smoke. The government has asked the public to wear masks and use bottled water for now.

Authorities have reported no casualties at this stage and all Save the Children staff and volunteers located in Tonga, Fiji and Vanuatu are safe and accounted for.

A tidal wave was recorded in Fiji and tsunami warnings were issued for Fiji, Samoa, Vanuatu, New Zealand and Australia.

Ali adds, “communications have been affected but we’re doing what we can to ensure those living in low-lying coastal areas are moving to higher-ground.”

“The experts have warned that volcanic activity may continue causing new tsunami warnings to be issued, and recommended people stay indoors to avoid the ash and smoke.”

“The people of Pacific Island nations are sadly becoming used to facing disasters. They are incredibly resilient communities.”

Source: Save the Children

You Might Be Interested In