It has been a long 24 hours for those with family, friends, and connections in Tonga. The eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano on Saturday evening was followed by a tsunami and then a communications blackout.

As messages started to come through from those who had access to satellite phones, a partial picture emerged of what happened and what now faces the Tongan people in terms of response and recovery.

A major ash fall has contaminated water sources, roads have been chewed up by the tsunami surge, boats have been thrown about in harbours. So far, there have been no reports of casualties, but many parts of the country are still incommunicado. It appears that the undersea telecommunications cable that connects Tonga to the world is out of action.

Please click here to read the full “COVID a wild card in efforts to help Tonga” article published at Sydney Morning Herald, written by Griffith Asia Institute Pacific Hub Lead, Dr Tess Newton Cain.