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Tonga tsunami: Nomuka and Mango residents safely brought to main island

A week on from a huge volcanic eruption and tsunami in Tonga, residents evacuated from the devastated islands of Nomuka and Mango have been rescued and the names of two victims have been officially released.

On Sunday night, the Consulate of the Kingdom of Tonga congratulated its government and armed forces for safely bringing Nomuka and Mango residents to Tongatapu, the main island in Tonga.

Nomuka and Mango both sustained extensive damage following the eruption of the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano and tsunami on Saturday, 15 January.

Tongan woman Lataimaumi Lauaki​, 49, was one of the three people killed in the tsunami. She was from the island of Nomuka.

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Tongan man Telai Tutu’ila​, 65, was also named as a victim in an official update from the Tongan Government. He was from Mango Island where many homes were destroyed amid the natural disaster.

The third person killed in the disaster was British woman Angela Glover, 50, who died after she was swept out to sea while trying to save her dogs, her family told media.

Volcanic ash covers houses and vegetation in an area of Tonga, Monday, January 17, 2022.

CPL Vanessa Parker/NZDF via AP

Volcanic ash covers houses and vegetation in an area of Tonga, Monday, January 17, 2022.

In the second official statement from the Government following the disaster, it confirmed some telecommunications had finally been restored.

Communication between the islands remained an “acute challenge” the Government said in the statement shared online, however, limited telephone and radio connections between some of the islands had now been re-established. Some limited international calls were also now possible.

New Zealand is among the countries assisting in the relief efforts. It has delivered aid to Tonga via a C-130 Hercules, and three Navy vessels have also been sent to the island nation.

Vital telecommunications equipment needed to re-establish internet connection arrived on a relief flight from New Zealand, the Tongan Government statement said.

Ash and the tsunami triggered by the eruption has affected an estimated 84 per cent of the population of Tonga, the statement said. Damage assessment teams are still conducting visits and aerial surveys of the islands.

A vessel was expected to reach Tonga within the next few days to repair the fibre-optic cable that was severed by the tsunami.

Auckland based Tongan families gather at the Mt Smart stadium car park to donate non-perishable goods that will be transported to Tonga following the recent volcanic eruption.

LAWRENCE SMITH/Stuff

Auckland based Tongan families gather at the Mt Smart stadium car park to donate non-perishable goods that will be transported to Tonga following the recent volcanic eruption.

About 62 people living on Mango Island have been relocated to Nomuka after losing their homes and belongings, the statement said. It’s expected these people will be moved again to Tongatapu due to the food and water shortage on Nomuka.

Food rations, water, relief items and hygiene kits and tents are being distributed to some hard-hit areas. About 60,000 litres of water has been distributed as part of ongoing relief efforts.

A number of countries have donated millions of dollars in support for Tonga, and the statement said that his Majesty’s Government was “deeply appreciative to the international community for their generous and timely assistance in response to this unprecedented event”.




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