Caritas Aotearoa NZ is responding quickly to the volcanic eruption disaster in Tonga. It htas has offered an immediate Solidarity Grant to Caritas Tonga and is also receiving donations, through its Pacific Relief Fund, to help with the aftermath of the eruption and tsunami.
“Caritas is a key responder on the ground right now,” says Caritas director Julianne Hickey. “We know that the recovery will be a difficult one, but the Caritas Tonga team are supported by a strong team of volunteers across all the island.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says: “Pre-positioned supplies held in country with our partners Caritas Aotearoa NZ and Caritas Tonga have been released. These supplies include a water purification unit, jerry cans, hygiene kits, buckets and water taps.”
Julianne Hickey says: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Tonga and especially with our partners and the communities with which we have been working for many years.
"Communications are proving very difficult at the moment but we were in touch with Caritas Tonga as recently as Saturday. Together we have completed the pre-positioning of emergency supplies at three locations in Tonga so are well prepared for this kind of eventuality.”
The biggest concern at the moment is drinking water, which has been contaminated across Tonga by ash fall. The Tongan Government had approved drinking water distribution to Ha'apai (islands nearest the volcano) on Saturday morning, as the islands are majority reliant on harvested rainwater for drinking.
Donations can be made to Caritas online through the Pacific Relief Fund.
"Caritas has provided us with an opportunity to donate to the assistance they are giving to Caritas Tonga in the immediate aftermath of the tsunami," says Emeritus Bishop of Auckland, Patrick Dunn. "Let us open our hearts to offer prayer and aid to our sisters and brothers in Tonga in these dire days."
Photo: Stocks of Caritas emergency supplies being prepared in Tonga prior to Christmas 2021