The volcanic eruption on 15 January almost completely covered the island state of Tonga, in the South Pacific, with a thick layer of ash. Over 80 percent of the population, about 84,000 people, have been affected by the effects of the volcanic eruption and are in dire need of assistance. The most urgent needs are drinking water and food. As first emergency relief, Malteser International is providing financial support through its partner Aktion Deutschland Hilft, thanks to the on-site support of the Australian association of the Order of Malta.
“The information reaching us from the Order of Malta in Australia and New Zealand is shocking. Almost the entire island nation is covered in a thick layer of ash. Crops have been destroyed, groundwater and fish are contaminated. On some islands, like the small island of Mango, all houses have been destroyed. We will now support the Australian association of the Order of Malta and its New Zealand branch with our emergency aid so that they can provide quick help,” says Clemens Graf von Mirbach-Harff, Secretary General of Malteser International.
Since the Kingdom of Tonga has come through the pandemic virtually Covid-free so far, the aid will be provided without contact. The current plan is to transport containers with drinking water and food from New Zealand by ship to Tonga for local distribution.