Geologists think that the Tonga island groups woke up to the largest volcanic eruption in over 30 years on January 15, 2022, which caused shockwaves to be felt as far away as Japan and Peru.
Widespread destruction was brought on by the earthquake, tsunami, and volcanic ash (which covered 99 per cent of Tonga). Schools were shuttered, water systems were harmed, buildings and some food crops were destroyed, and families and children were left without access to necessities.
Following the infection of two port workers, the first community transmission of COVID-19 was verified, dealing Tonga a second blow as it struggled to recover. The relief effort was made more difficult by these overlapping problems.
We examine the effect your kind donations have had on the lives of the Tonga kids and their families one year later when they are doing well and on the road to recovery.
The night’s wounds are still there in the thoughts of those impacted, especially those who lost everything, like Vake and her family, even as families rebuild and recover.
“We kept gazing back as we ran. Vake, a 14-year-old who lived on Tonga’s remote Mango Island, claims that the waves “went over the rooftop of the houses, wiping away everything.” Today, the island stands barren with nothing but sand.
Maaimoa, Vake’s mother, recounts the first night and day before relief arrived when women and children sought refuge under a big tarpaulin during the night and under a mat held by men.
To prevent the mat from collapsing, the men “kept cleaning the ashes from the mat,” said Maaimoa.
The families subsisted on the root crops they had planted and the livestock with nothing more than the clothes they were wearing.
Children are among those who are most at risk whenever there is a humanitarian crisis. Children like Vake now have a secure environment to play, learn, and interact with others thanks to the establishment of child-friendly spaces supported by UNICEF and emotional and mental health services. To date, approximately 10,000 kids and their carers have received support through psychosocial support (PSS) programs.
Vake and her friends were able to begin restoring a sense of normalcy thanks to the games, according to Maaimoa, who has witnessed firsthand the effects of the PSS interventions.
She continued, “Watching children smile once more has helped me heal too.