• Crisis Severity ?
    1.2
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    1.7
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    1.0
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    1.0
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    1.0
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Overview

30/01/2022

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai underwater volcano erupted in the Pacific Ocean on 15 January, triggering a tsunami measuring up to 80cm that flooded Tonga island. The eruption sent out volcanic ash, steam, and gas, rising approximately 18km above the volcano and covering parts of the country with ash and smoke. The most affected area is Tongatapu, the main island. As at 30 January, three fatalities and several injuries are confirmed, in addition to around 290 houses damaged or affected. ?

It is estimated that 80% of the population (up to 84,000 people, including 28,000 children) was affected by the eruption. More than 1500 people are displaced and staying in private cars, houses of friends or family, or evacuation centres. The most urgent need across the island is clean drinking water, as water supplies have been disrupted and contaminated by layers of volcanic ash and salt water. Other needs include food, shelter, WASH, and health.?

Conducting humanitarian assessments is difficult because all communication lines in the country have been disrupted, and the most affected areas are inaccessible following the tsunami. Phone connections and electricity were down between 15–16 January, and communication with the island remains difficult. Access to the island through flights is on hold because of ash clouds covering the airport.?

Latest Developments

03/03/2022

No recent significant humanitarian developments. The crisis is being monitored by our analysis team.

 

KEY PRIORITIES

03/03/2022

WASH: Around 50,000 people need access to safe drinking water. Water sources in Tonga have been contaminated by volcanic ash, which can contain heavy metals like copper, cadmium, and arsenic. Sea water that has landed on the island after the tsunami also disrupted water supplies. Mobile water treatment facilities are needed to provide safe drinking water for households.?

Food and Livelihoods: An estimated 60,000 people have been affected by damage to crops, livestock, and fisheries. Local fresh fish is among the main sources of food for households in Tonga. About 200 boats, which are important for fishing and generating income, were damaged. Food rations are one of the most urgent needs for households affected by the eruption and the tsunami.?

Shelter: The most shelter needs are reported in Mango and Fonoifua islands: all houses have been destroyed on Mango Island, and only two houses remained on Fonoifua. Temporary tarpaulin shelters are needed to host the affected households. Currently, most of the displaced people are staying with relatives, while others are in temporary shelters.?

Health: There are increasing health concerns, as affected people are likely exposed to breathing volcanic ash or drinking contaminated water. Tonga has been declared a COVID-19-free country, but there is a risk of spreading the virus with aid deliveries arriving from other countries.?