A crisis has struck our neighbours in Tonga
On Saturday 15 January, a tsunami was triggered by the eruption of underwater volcano Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha'apai, just 65km from the capital city Nuku'alofa on Tonga's most populated island.
Communications have now been restored and we have been in touch with our partners, the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga (FWCT). They have been assisting evacuations from low-lying islands that were hit hard. In Nuku'alofa, FWCT personnel have been assisting affected communities with relief supplies and trauma counselling. They have appointed a disaster response Coordinator and are scalling up their response with help from international partners including UnitingWorld and the Pacific Conference of Churches.
"This event has moved the churches into action," said FWCT President, Rev Dr Tevita Havea.
"Our trained counsellors have visited twice to affected areas in the main Inland especially the relocated people from the islands. Visits have been very active to the rest of the people suffering. We also bought basics supplies during the visits and we have stocked up for next week. My urgent need now is to hire a boat to take food and clothes to the Ha?apai island group. I think we will be ready by Tuesday (25/01/22). We will cook food from here and take it ready to go," said Rev Dr Havea.
Many parts of Tonga remain covered in ash and people have been left without power since Saturday. Early reports are showing extensive damage to homes and buildings along the coastlines. Several people have been reported missing, but casualties and the full extent of the damage remain unknown. The Red Cross is estimating 80,000 people have been affected by the disaster.
You can help
Donate now to provide urgent support to affected communities.
Your support will help our partners to provide emergency assistance and supplies to people affected by the disaster.
In the longer term, your gift will support recovery and rebuilding once the full extent of the disaster is known.
Donations of $2 or more are tax deductible in Australia. Please give generously.
Note: UnitingWorld works directly with our church partners on community-wide relief and development activities. We do not direct money to particular people or families. (Why money is far better than sending items)
Uniting in Prayer for Tonga
Tongan communities in Australia and across the world have maintained a prayer vigil each day as they await news from their families in Tonga.
Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) President Rev Sharon Hollis and Chair of the Uniting Church’s Tongan National Conference (TNC) Rev Feke Kamitoni have encouraged people to pray for Tonga.
Please join us praying for those affected by this disaster, for the long-term wellbeing of the affected communities and for our partner churches as they respond to people's needs.
Direct banking details
For direct banking, please arrange to deposit your donation into the following UnitingWorld Account:
Bank: Westpac – King St, Sydney NSW
Account Name: UnitingWorld Donations
Account Number: 182657
Description: Tonga Tsunami
On completion of your deposit, please forward an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org with the following details: the amount you deposited, to where you wish the funds be directed ("Emergency Appeal"), to whom the receipt is to be made out to and the relevant contact details for the receipt (address and phone number).
Header image via @sakakimoana (Twitter)
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