Tonga is a Polynesian archipelago of islands located in the South Pacific Ocean. The island nation sits above a large section of the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are common.
This blog post will give you an idea of the situation in Tonga after the volcano eruption and its effects on the Tongan economy and society.
A volcano on the uninhabited Tongan island Hunga Hunga-Tonga Ha’apai started erupting in December 2021. It reached its climax on the 15th of January 2022 followed by a destructive tsunami. The eruption was the biggest of the 21st century, Although the loss of life was minimal, the financial damages are estimated to be over US$90.4 million. The Tongan economy and infrastructure took the biggest hit.
Knowing the great islands of this South Pacific country, our thoughts are with the people of Tonga. Now, nearly four months later, we hope that the country’s reconstruction will succeed quickly. Here’s the situation:
Damage on Tonga after the Volcano Eruption 2022
After the Tonga Volcano Eruption of 2022, much of the damage to Tongan territory was not from the eruption itself but from a tsunami that followed. Part of the island where the volcano erupted was destroyed, forcing ocean water to rush in and fill the void. This resulted in subsequent tidal waves that spread out in all directions, wreaking havoc on everything in their path.
Several Tongan islands were partially submerged, with one island getting completely wiped out. Hundreds of buildings and homes were demolished or damaged beyond recovery. Fortunately, timely evacuation efforts limited the loss of lives to 3, but the financial losses are beyond Tongan capability.
Tonga’s economy is almost non-existent because the export of crops, minerals, and manufactured goods has dropped to nothing. Tourism has become non-existent and will continue to remain that way until the country recovers some of its infrastructures.
How did the Tongans deal with the damage?
The Tongans have been working very hard to try and clean up the land, rebuild damaged houses, and do anything to help themselves. The people’s mood is still very positive despite all that has happened. The people of Tonga are still strong and helping those affected, despite being grief-stricken themselves.
Tonga after the volcano eruption of 2022 left many Tongans homeless. The people of Tonga look forward to rebuilding what they have lost in hopes that they can maintain their beautiful lifestyle.
Who Supports Tonga After the Volcano Eruption 2022?
Major global powers have set up a special Tonga volcano eruption fund to help the country recover from the catastrophe. Many countries have pitched in to help the people of Tonga, with New Zealand sending NZD 500,000 in aid and the USA sending $2.5 million for Tonga disaster relief. The World Bank has also provided US$8 million for Tonga’s Volcano and Tsunami response.
China’s Red Cross Society has also helped with US$100,000 of emergency humanitarian aid to Tonga, whereas the Chinese government has sent tons of food supplies and drinking water to Tongan people. Australia has offered personal assistance to the victims of the Tonga volcano eruption. Other countries like Singapore, India, Israel, and Japan have also sent financial aid and food supplies.
How long will it take for locals to resume “normal” life?
It is unclear yet how long it will take before Tonga can fully recover from the damage caused by the big Volcano Eruption in 2022. The people of Tonga have been working extremely hard to rebuild what was destroyed and return their lives to normal.
Despite Covid-19 travel restrictions, it is expected that Tongans will return to somewhat normal life within the next 4-12 months. The economy will take longer to recover because of the damage to Tonga’s infrastructure, exports of crops and minerals, and the tourism industry have suffered. A full recovery to the pre-disaster condition can take up to 10 years.
Tonga after the volcano eruption is left with significant damage to the country’s infrastructure. The economy is next to non-existent but continues to grow by the day as more aid comes in from foreign countries and businesses begin reopening. The resilient people of Tonga are well aware that it will take time for them to fully recover but are excited for what the future will bring. Of course, global powers need to see through the recovery process and ensure steps to help the Tongan economy stand on its own again.
If You Intend to Travel to Tonga…
After this massive natural disaster, the country will need a while to rebuild. The pandemic has also left its mark, and Tonga is still in a lockdown. But at some point, reviving tourism will help to generate revenue for the country and its people.
So if you’ve been thinking about traveling to Tonga, check the Tourimus website to find out when it’ll be possible again – and then hit the boat or plane to this fantastic South Pacific paradise.
In a few weeks, we will share some more details about beautiful Tonga. So keep an eye on the lastest blogs on our website.