Red Cross mobilising regional network to respond to one of the worst volcanic eruptions in Tonga
Scale of the devastation could be immense - Greenwood

Red Cross mobilising regional network to respond to one of the worst volcanic eruptions in Tonga

Scale of the devastation could be immense - Greenwood

By Dhanjay Deo
Monday 17/01/2022
[Image: Red Cross]

Red Cross is mobilising its regional network to respond to one of the worst volcanic eruptions the Pacific has experienced in decades.

The Pacific Head of Delegation of the International Federation of Red Cross, Katie Greenwood says Tonga has been cut off from the rest of the world after an enormous volcanic eruption and subsequent tsunami.

She says all communication lines in the country have been disrupted with no timeframe given on restoration.

Greenwood says from what little updates they have, the scale of the devastation could be immense especially for outer lying islands.

She says they are trying hard to establish contact with their colleagues at the Tonga Red Cross and establish the scale and specific nature of the support they need.

Greenwood says trained Tonga Red Cross teams will be on the ground supporting evacuations in coordination with public authorities, providing first aid if needed, and distributing prepositioned relief supplies.

She adds Red Cross currently has enough relief supplies in the country to support 1,200 households with essential items such as tarpaulins, blankets, kitchen sets, shelter tool kits and hygiene kits.

There are fears that communities may not have access to safe and clean drinking water as a result of saltwater inundation caused by the tsunami waves and ashfall from the volcanic eruption.

Greenwood says shelter is also a concern, particularly for those communities near the coastline and local Red Cross teams are well placed to respond quickly to emergencies like this.

She says with communication channels disrupted, one of the priorities for Tonga Red Cross will be to work with their movement partner, International Committee of the Red Cross to restore family links which will help people from all over the world try and find out if their family and friends in Tonga are safe and well.


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