Fitness group unites Flaxmere community to help displaced RSE Workers

Tagata Pasifika reports the group launched two years ago, offering free fitness classes in Flaxmere, where Pacific people account for around 30% of the population.

But when the deluge hit the region last week, founder Viliamu Malaitai says the group felt compelled to assist the Pasifika victims, mostly RSE workers, who had lost their homes and possessions.

“As we know, these guys come from overseas, so they only have what they have, and to lose what they have, which is the bare minimum, it’s quite sad really,” Malaitai says.

Trauma needs to be addressed following eruption - Tonga PM

“A lot of people were impacted, it may not be physically but mentally, that’s something we’re trying to address."

Speaking to FBC News, he said much of the trauma that remains is unseen.​

“We may be able to build houses now, but addressing mental health issues will take longer.”

Of the 80,000 people in Tonga affected by the disaster, 28,000 are children. 

Save the Children Tonga country lead Maa’imoa Mafile’o says many kids are still struggling.

Tonga PM receives T$1 million in donations in response to calls for assistance after Jan 2022 disasters

The PM’s Press Office said the funds were raised in response to calls for assistance following the January 15, 2022 volcanic eruption and tsunami in Tonga.

The funds were raised by the Tonga High Commission, Tonga Consul General’s Office, and Pilie-tauhala Tongan Community Committees around Australia, with donations from businesses, schools, hospitals, companies, rugby clubs, kava clubs, individuals, states, mayors, and local governments such as the ACT government, Northern Territory government and the Liverpool Council.

US elementary school raises over $3,000 for Tonga recovery

"I researched and found a photo of the devastation and I just can't imagine just living like that," said 12-year-old Natalie.

"I wanted to help because I knew that if that was me, I would want other people to help me too."

Many of the students and teachers had heard of Tonga as the school's former Pastor Ofa Langi was Tongan. Langi provided spiritual guidance to the school for more than seven years before leaving the town to become pastor of a church in nearby Seattle.

"I looked up pictures online and saw how much devastation happened," said 12-year-old Issac.

Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem pledges NZD$55,000 to Tonga for tsunami relief

The Grand Prior Professor Brett Delahunt GCLJ pledged the assistance during a meeting with Prime Minister, Hu’akavameiliku in Auckland on Tuesday.

Hu’akavameiliku and New Zealand Parliamentarian, Jenny Salesa, received the Grand Prior at the Ramanda Hotel and discussed potential financial support from the Order to assist recovery from the damage caused by the volcanic eruption and tsunami.

The Prime Minister accepted the Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem’s request to establish a charitable entity in Tonga with a local committee that has been set up.

Further Australian support for Tonga

The assistance is alongside a delivery of 54,990 Pfizer vaccines to be provided in partnership with Tongan health authorities to support their Covid-19 response.

The $16 million package builds on the initial $3 million of humanitarian support and the Australian Defence Force's clean-up efforts and delivery of 370 tonnes of equipment and disaster relief supplies under Operation Tonga Assist 2022.

Boats handed over to local communities in Tonga

Prime Minister, Hu’akavameiliku presented five boats to community representatives at Vuna Wharf in Nuku’alofa this week.

Hart had offered to assist the Government of Tonga in response to the 15 January Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcanic eruptions and tsunami.

PM Hu’akavameiliku thanked during the presentation ceremony and acknowledged the presence of local representative Salote Sisifa.

ADB and New Zealand donations for Covid-hit Tonga

Tonga reported its first confirmed case last month and is experiencing localised community transmission of the Omicron variant.

The bank says its support, which will come from its Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund, will assist Tonga in meeting immediate response needs and deliver medical services where required.

Meanwhile, New Zealand will contribute US$4 million to support the improvement of water supply and sanitation for Tonga's most vulnerable households.

New UNICEF – Government of Japan partnership to support Tongan families affected by tsunami

The assistance will ensure that about 19,250 people, including 10,000 children will be able to have sufficient access to safe drinking water, a clean environment, as well as good health.

The commitment constitutes the continuation of the strong partnership between the people of Japan and UNICEF aiming to improve the lives of all children living in the Pacific.

UN coordinator in Tonga: ‘Resources on the ground are not enough’

“The resources that we have in the ground are not enough”, Sione Hufanga explained, in an interview on Saturday with UN News. “We ought to always look at the situation and ask, have we done enough, for this very small country, isolated in the Pacific islands?”

The underwater volcano eruption of a week ago, is believed to be the largest volcanic event to occur for 30 years.

The huge, 20 km high mushroom cloud of smoke and ash, and the tsunami that followed, affected 84,000 people, more than 80 per cent of the population of the South Pacific country.