Two deaths reported after the recent volcanic eruption and tsunami in Tonga

Two deaths reported after the recent volcanic eruption and tsunami in Tonga

By Iva Danford
Tuesday 18/01/2022
[Photo: NZ Herald]

There have been two deaths reported after the recent volcanic eruption and tsunami in Tonga.

The United Nations has been working to support the Tongan government’s response with the World Health Organisation's Country Liaison Officer for Tonga, Dr Yutaro Setoya, playing a critical role in channelling communication between UN agencies and the Tongan government, and between the UN and their staff in Tonga.

With international phone lines and internet connectivity still down, Dr Setoya’s satellite phone is one of the few ways to get information into and out of the country.

Dr Setoya has confirmed that two deaths have been reported to date with many remain displaced, and 89 people taking shelter in evacuation centres on the island of ‘Eua and many more seeking shelter with relatives.

He also confirms that buildings and infrastructure have been damaged with around 50 houses destroyed and 100 houses sustaining some sort of damages on just the main island of Tongatapu.

Dr Setoya says around 2cm of ash and dust has fallen on Tongatapu, raising concerns of air pollution and the potential contamination of food and water supplies but thankfully, all health facilities on Tongatapu are fully functioning and clean-up efforts have been initiated.

He says the information on the degree of destruction is still being gathered and the Ha’apai and Vava’u island groups remain out of contact with the capital. Dr Setoya says there are particular concerns about the smaller and low-lying islands of Mango and Fonoi in the Ha’apai group.

WHO is closely coordinating with other United Nations agencies and partners to support the response to the recent volcanic eruption and tsunami in Tonga, including acting as a central channel of information in the face of continued telecommunications outages.

They say the government of the Kingdom of Tonga reacted swiftly, including deploying a naval vessel to the Ha’api islands carrying the WHO-trained Tonga Emergency Medical Assistance Team (TEMAT) to help treat people who may have been injured. The government has advised the Tongan public to remain indoors, use masks if going out, and to drink bottled water to avoid consequences of the ashfall.

WHO’s Health Cluster Coordinator for the Pacific, Sean Casey says Dr Setoya has literally been standing outside from dawn until long into the night for the past few days to ensure that the phone can reach the satellite signal and he can pass along vital information.


Latest Videos

Stay tuned for the latest news on our radio stations

CFL radio frequencies
IN DEPTH
Fijiana Drua historic win in Super W
The historic Super W win by the Rooster Chicken sponsored Fijiana Drua sets the platform for the Fijiana 15s side as they will play in the Women’s ...
30 days ago

Revised 2021-2022 National Budget passed in parliament
VAT to be zero rated for 21 items from 1st April 2022 and current 20 cents fuel tax to be removed - AG
63 days ago

Revised Budget consultations
Budget consultations held by the Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.  Mon 28th Feb Tue 08th Mar Wed ...
73 days ago
FEATURE NEWS
Chiefs lead the Drua 28 - 13 at half time
Fijian Drua vs Chiefs First Half underway! ...
1 hour ago
LATEST NEWS
Supporters from Nadroumai Village in Nadroga at Churchill Park to watch Kalaveti Ravouvou
A group of people have come from Nadroumai Village in Nadroga to support Swire Shipping Fijian Drua centre Kalaveti Ravouvou against the Chiefs in ...
3 hours ago

FJFW model grateful for family support
Model, Meresiana Vatavesi from Ba who took part in her first Fiji Fashion Week last night says she is following in the footsteps of her sister, Sera ...
3 hours ago

Jury deliberations begin in the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard defamation trial
After six weeks of testimony from Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s legal teams, both sides have delivered their arguments today, and jury ...
4 hours ago

More help for cancer patients after Ram Sami donation
$1,149.45 has been given to the Fiji Cancer Society by Ram Sami and Sons Fiji Ltd to support those battling cancer. Ram Sami and Sons Fiji Ltd ...
4 hours ago

About 600 people back at work as Sheraton Fiji opens after undergoing $78.9 million refurbishment
About 600 people are now back at work after the opening of Sheraton Fiji Golf and Beach Resort in Denarau. The Resort has been closed since ...
4 hours ago

TOP