The secretary general for the Tonga Red Cross, Sione Taumoefolau, told AFP that Tonga's, Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcanic eruption felt like a atomic bomb shaking the whole island, sending the Pacific nation to be faced with a problem of a shortage for drinking water.
The volcano explosion unleashed a tsunami isolating Tonga's main island off from the rest of the world due to a broken undersea communications cable.
He added : “The whole island shook because of the noise of the eruption but the worst part, for us, is the ash. Everywhere we are being covered by the ashes from the volcano,”.
UN crisis coordinator, Jonathan Veitch told AFP from Fiji, that their main concern now is providing drinking water supplies for thousands of people who fear the contamination from ash.
He added that before the eruption, most Tonga citizens depended on rainwater". He says: "If it’s all made toxic by the ash, then they have a problem, unless they gain access to groundwater sources. Water testing has begun but it is vital for them to determine access to, and the location of groundwater sources".
The citizens are facing a massive cleanup project which renders the situation difficult having limited supplies and aid. Thus far, only the main runway was cleared of ash.
This made leeway for military aid flights from Australia and New Zealand on Thursday and Friday, despite poor communications, distance and attempts to prevent Covid access.
Foreign aid is also influencing the current outbreaks of Covid omicron.
The government has completed a full assessment of the disaster and is currently investigating safe measures to bring aid workers into the country.
Three people have been confirmed dead while there is no evidence of further casualties sustained. Furthermore, beyond the total destruction, the extent of damage is yet to be assessed. In the meantime, people whose homes on the outer islands were destroyed, were evacuated to the larger island of Nomuka.
New Zealand’s HMNZS Aotearoa aided in Tonga, carrying a supply of fresh drinking water to the capacity of 70-75,000 litres of water per day.
The Australian aid ship, HMAS Adelaide, with UNICEF has sent a large number of of water and sanitation hygiene kits as well as equipment to treat the water.
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