As Tonga faces a significant rebuild, UNICEF’s shipment of emergency supplies arrived in the Pacific nation from Brisbane aboard HMAS Adelaide on Wednesday 26 January 2022.
The shipment includes 1000 water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) kits, dignity kits, water containers and buckets to support families, and a water field test kit to help the Government of Tonga undertake crucial water quality testing. It also includes 50 recreational kits, which provide sports supplies such as footballs and skipping ropes to help boost children’s mental and emotional health.
UNICEF Pacific says at least $AUD3.6 million in funding is urgently needed to address the immediate needs of children and families while further assessments are carried out to determine the long-term support requirements. To support Tonga’s road to recovery, UNICEF Australia has launched the Tonga Recovery Appeal.
The Government of Tonga declared a State of Emergency until 13 February 2022. Ash fall has affected 84 per cent of the population (85,000 people, including 36,500 children). Access to clean water remains the biggest priority with most people relying on bottled water. Communications are improving but international voice services are overwhelmed and communications between islands is challenging.