Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Update On Tonga

Tonga Update – 3pm 19 January 2022

  • The Tonga Government is responding to efforts on the ground. Power has been restored, and clean-up and damage assessments are ongoing. Relief supplies are being distributed by Tongan authorities. Work to clear the airport runway continues and is expected to be complete today.
  • There are three confirmed fatalities; two Tongan nationals and a British national. No further deaths have been reported today.
  • Digicel (international mobile phone network provider) has set up an interim system on Tongatapu using the University of South Pacific’s satellite dish which may allow a 2G connection to be established today. This connection will be limited and patchy, covering about 10 percent of usual capacity and prioritising voice and SMS communications.
  • US cable company SubCom advises it will take at least four weeks for Tonga’s cable connection to be repaired.

Tonga Government Response

  • Overnight, the Tonga Government issued its first official media release since the eruption. The key information includes:

- Emergency response operations are under way, with initial damage assessments conducted, and relief supplies and health teams deployed to affected areas.

- Limited communication has been made with Vava’u and Ha’apai. There have been no communications with the Niuas but they are considered low risk. Efforts continue to restore communications.

- Evacuations have begun from Atata to Tongatapu and from Mango and Fonoifua to Nomuka.

- Water supplies have been affected by volcanic ash; damage assessments are under way.

- Challenges to sea and air transportation remain due to damage sustained by wharves and ash covering runways.

- Domestic and international flights have been deferred until further notice.

- Volcanic activity and tsunami risk continues to be monitored.

  • The Prime Minister has met with the head of each diplomatic mission in Tonga to discuss their support.

New Zealand Government Response

· The Tonga Government has approved the arrival of HMNZS Wellington and HMNZS Aotearoa which departed New Zealand yesterday, as well as a C130 Hercules once the airport runway is clear. The vessels are expected to arrive in Tonga by Friday, depending on weather conditions.

  • A second NZDF P3 Orion surveillance flight is being conducted today. This flight will include a survey of Fiji’s southern Lau Islands, at the request of the Government of Fiji, to check for potential tsunami damage.
  • New Zealand is continuing to assess Tonga’s water transport logistics capabilities for the transport of water from HMNZS Aotearoa.
  • We have been engaging with Tonga’s National Emergency Management Organisation to better understand what is needed.

New Zealanders in Tonga

· All New Zealanders in Tonga are advised to register their details on link).

· Communications links with Tonga continue to be disrupted so New Zealanders may have difficulties contacting their whānau in Tonga at this time.

· New Zealanders in Tonga should follow the advice of the local authorities, including any tsunami evacuation orders.

· If you are a New Zealander and you require consular assistance, or are concerned about a New Zealand citizen in Tonga please contact the New Zealand Consular Emergency line on +64 99 20 20 20.

· If you are concerned or have lost contact with Tongan citizens who are not New Zealand Citizens, NZ Red Cross has activated their Restoring Family Links system for Tonga - Restoring Family Links: link) which may help to connect you with loved ones. We encourage you to visit this website and enter your family members’ details.

Advice on giving

· Updated advice on giving is available at Tonga | New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Case For Nationalising Our Urban Bus Services

When it comes to funding and managing public transport, should local government or central government bear most of the responsibility for delivering a quality service? Ratepayers or taxpayers? Those basic questions re-surfaced yesterday, after the government announced its intention to scrap the Public Transport Operating Model (PTOM) imposed by the last National government in 2013. That model had required councils to use private contractors to run the buses, via a cut-throat competitive tendering process...


School Strike 4 Climate: Intergenerational Climate Strike On September 23rd
Once again School Strike for climate Ōtautahi (Christchurch) is asking all students to unite in a call to all council candidates to #voteclimate. Happening on Friday 23rd of September... More>>

Privacy Commissioner: Public Input Sought To Inform Privacy Rules For Biometrics
Privacy Commissioner Michael Webster is encouraging New Zealanders to have their say on the use of biometric information in Aotearoa New Zealand... More>>

National: Food Prices Climb Taking Kiwis Backwards
Kiwi families continue to battle runaway food prices, National’s Finance spokesperson Nicola Willis says... More>>

Human Rights Commission: Urgent Government Action Needed To Support Renters’ Human Rights
An immediate freeze on rent increases could give renters some reprieve during the cost-of-living crisis says Te Kahui Tika Tangata, the Human Rights Commission... More>>

Government: Creating Sustainable Public Transport For All
Workers and public transport users are at the heart of the new Sustainable Public Transport Framework, Transport Minister Michael Wood announced today... More>>

Government: Tax Break To Boost Long-term Rental Supply
The Government is encouraging more long-term rental options by giving developers tax relief for as long as the homes are held as long-term rentals, the Housing Minister Megan Woods has announced... More>>




InfoPages News Channels