Donations will provide immediate life-saving support and will also help the long-term recovery for those who have lost their homes, livelihoods and farmland. The impacts of this disaster will be felt for months and years to come and any support people in the UK can provide will be a great help."
Bill Flinn, Senior Shelter Advisor, CARE UK
As the damage in Tonga is revealed following the devastating volcanic eruption and tsunami, CARE International has set up the Tonga Emergency Appeal for people in the UK to support the survivors.
CARE UK’s Senior Shelter Advisor Bill Flinn said that immediate assistance is needed for people whose homes, crops and water sources have been damaged by the tsunami or polluted by the ash fall. CARE will be working through two local organisations in Tonga, MORDI Tonga Trust and the Talitha Project who are skilled in rapid aid response. This will also help limit the potential spread of COVID-19 to Tonga, which has only ever had one confirmed case and is currently COVID-19 free.
Bill Flinn said:
"I visited Tonga just after the devastation of Hurricane Gita in 2018 and witnessed at first hand the resilience of the Tongan people in the face of disaster. Low-lying communities, especially on small islands, are likely to have had similar levels of damage to their homes as in 2018. However, the impact of the ash-fall is likely to be much more widespread, disrupting water supply and agriculture across the islands. Many areas of Tonga rely on rainwater for drinking water and tanks will be clogged with ash. The ability of subsistence farmers to cultivate their land and harvest crops is likely to take a long time to recover. So, water, shelter and food are likely to be the immediate emergency needs.
It will be some time before a clear picture of the extent of the need emerges. CARE International is working with the same local partners that I knew in 2018 – MORDI and Talitha – and this is a great strength. They are well-established and know how best to work with local communities to ensure an appropriate and rapid recovery."
On Thursday 20 January, CARE sent 1,000 tarpaulins and around 700 kits with essential hygiene items on the HMAS Adelaide, which left Brisbane for Tonga. CARE’s partner MORDI Tonga Trust also had pre-positioned emergency stocks in Tonga.