It's a very anxious and unsettling time right now for anyone with family and links to Tonga.
Here at ShelterBox New Zealand, we continue to send our thoughts and aroha to the Tongan community, following Saturday's underwater volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami.
Initial reports suggest that the main island of Tongatapu and the capital of Nuku’alofa are covered with 2cm of ash. Both power and communications remain limited, and there are concerns over water contamination and air quality.
This morning, a New Zealand Defence Force plane departed to explore the extent of damage.
Our Operations Team are keeping a close watch on any communications that emerge from these assessments over the coming hours and days, to evaluate whether we may be able to support any shelter needs of Tongan families.
We have responded to tsunamis and other disasters in the South Pacific region previously, including Cyclone Harold in Vanuatu (2020), and Cyclone Winston in Fiji (2016), Cyclone Evan in Samoa (2012), for example.
As a result, we are familiar with what may be needed.
However, every disaster is different – and that’s why we’re taking the time to assess the situation, and carefully evaluate whether or not we are best placed to respond, alongside others working in international aid and humanitarian relief.
We will continue to keep you updated.
Thanks so much for your support. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions.
The ShelterBox New Zealand team.