Volcanic eruption

Tonga's netball win helps to cheer up the kingdom

The kingdom was unranked before the week-long competition, and a new team of uncapped players had to be hastily put together following disruptions due to the volcanic eruption and Covid pandemic.

Tonga laid down a marker with a crushing 85-42 triumph over Papua New Guinea in the opening round before upset wins over World Cup regulars Fiji (68-54) and Samoa (60-56).

The 2019 Pacific Games silver medallists beat Singapore 65-53 in their final group match before defeating the Fiji Pearls 60-52 in Saturday's grand final.

Rugby community launches rebuilding fund to help Tonga

Following the disaster in January, Tongan sports stars including Charles Piutau, Malakai Fekitoa and Pita Taufatofua set up fundraising pages to support their homeland.

A star-studded charity rugby game was held in Brisbane last month to raise funds, while Rugby Australia, New Zealand Rugby and broadcasters on both sides of the Tasman are donating $500 per try across the first 10 rounds of Super Rugby Pacific to the Red Cross Pacific Tsunami Appeal.

Seaweed farms in Tonga 'washed out' from volcanic eruption

It naturally grows in Tongan waters, and can only be found in Tonga and Okinawa, Japan.

But the recent volcanic eruption and tsunami in Tonga destroyed its only farms.

Masa Kawaguchi, director of South Pacific Mozuku in Tonga, said tests still needed to be completed to determine the amount of exports for this year.

"All of our equipment have been washed away," he said.

"It's probably floating on the ocean somewhere."

Concern over impacts of volcanic eruption on agriculture in Tonga

For days after the eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai submarine volcano on 15 January the kingdom was covered in a blanket of volcanic ash and later soaked with acid rain.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization warns the ash could delay or stunt agricultural harvests.

"With roughly 86 percent of Tongans engaged in agriculture, FAO is extremely concerned about the potential impacts across all agriculture sectors, including fisheries, crops and livestock," the FAO said in a statement shortly after the volcanic eruption and tsunami in January.

Residents return to tsunami battered Tonga island

They were visited by the Prime Minister Hu'akavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni over the weekend and have asked for an evacuation hall to be built at the highest point of the island, to house them if there is a similar event in the future.

The government said the Ministry of Agriculture is sending tapioca and kumara leaves to Nomuka to help farmers with replanting.

A team of Australian Defence Force personnel and soldiers from Fiji are on HMAS Canberra at Nomuka.

They are there to clear debris from the island.

Insurance claims in NZ from Tonga volcanic eruption close to NZ$6-million

This figure is an aggregate from 60 claims.

Forty-nine of the claims relate to marine craft totalling nearly $2 million ($1,947,282) with four commercial damage claims totalling almost $4 million ($3,862,640).

The claims are focused on the surge wave through Tutukaka marina, which resulted in several vessels being sunk and many other boats being damaged as well as causing extensive damage to marina infrastructure.

Half of Tonga's tourism businesses 'won't return' after tsunami, lockdown

At least 35 tourism and hospitality businesses were either partially or totally destroyed by the tsunami and eruption on 15 January, according to Tourism Tonga.

This included a number of businesses in the western district of Tongatapu – the “resort hub” of the main island of Tonga.

Most of the resorts on the island were significantly damaged, with the most popular, Vakaloa Resort, completely wiped off the map without a single structure standing.

Tonga reliant on rainfall to harness hazardous volcanic ash, which could be used to rejuvenate Pacific nation

Efforts to clear a thick blanket of ash continue two weeks after the eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano, which triggered a tsunami and caused widespread destruction across the archipelago. 

Tevita H Hafoka lives in Tonga's capital Nuku'alofa and said it was like the city was in greyscale before the first decent downpour of rain finally came on Friday.

"Everything was covered in ash: it was like a sepia-tone picture," Mr Hafoka said.

"Everything was grey and brown but we're finally seeing some colour.

Tonga struggles with ash, psychological trauma after eruption and tsunami

Communication with the outside world remained difficult on Sunday, with few internet services, and outlying islands still cut off from the phone service.

The Red Cross said it was providing not only tents, food, water and toilets to 173 households on Tonga's main island, but also comfort.

"Everyone is still struggling right now," said Drew Havea, the vice president of Tonga Red Cross. Because of the ash, "families are making sure their kids are not playing outside, that they are all indoors", he said.

HMNZS Canterbury sets sail for Tonga with aid onboard

Three ships have been deployed to assist with the aid effort with the HMNZS Canterbury the latest to set sail for Tonga overnight.

The ship has two NH90 helicopters, personnel and supplies onboard and is set to arrive in Tonga early next week.

The Defence Force are working with MFAT and the supplies onboard include water, tarpaulins and milk powder.

The HMNZS Canterbury is also carrying vehicles and several containers of construction equipment requested by Tongan authorities to assist with the recovery efforts following the eruption and tsunami.