SUVA, U.S. Embassy in Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu – Chargé d’affaires Tony Greubel announced the approval of US$100,000 (FJD$212,365) in immediate assistance to support people affected by volcanic eruptions and tsunami waves in Tonga.
USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance is working to address emergency shelter needs and is providing safe drinking water, hygiene kits, and other necessities to help Tongans affected by the eruptions and tsunami.
On January 14, the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano began erupting. A strong second eruption triggered tsunami waves that reached Tonga and many other Pacific Islands. The eruptions and subsequent flooding have affected approximately 100,000 people—nearly the entire population of Tonga—and likely damaged or destroyed houses and other public infrastructure. USAID has disaster experts in the region who are coordinating response efforts with the Government of Tonga and humanitarian partners. Once needs assessments are completed and telecommunications are restored, we will know the full extent of the damage. Our thoughts are with the people of Tonga.
In addition to the immediate assistance provided, USAID works year-round to help communities in Tonga prepare for and be more resilient to natural disasters. Through existing programs, USAID partners have prepositioned hygiene kits for distribution in case of disaster; maintain air and sea transport to bring relief supplies to people on all affected islands and in remote communities; and are prepared to provide emergency telecommunications.