'All agriculture is ruined' - Tonga facing food shortage after tsunami impact

January 19, 2022

Elijah Fa'afiu - elijah.fa'afiu@pmn.co.nz

Tonga's Speaker of the House Lord Fakafanua is overcome with emotion after the latest update from his homeland.

“All agriculture is ruined and I hear the farmers have been reassured by the Prime Minister that they will be taken care of, but it’s very sad to hear, so on top of the water that we need in Tonga, it seems that we’ll be facing a food shortage.”

The shortages highlight the damage and impact caused by the eruption of Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai.

Lord Fakafanua says: “Farmers spend a lot of money and capital and time in preparing their crops and it’s also one of the major exports of Tonga.”

Lord Fakafanua is emotional after hearing the latest update from Tonga.

But there's hope that help might soon get through.

“The air force flights from Australia and New Zealand scheduled for Thursday and Friday look like it might be able to happen, the clearing of the runway looks like it should be complete by the end of today," Lord Fakafanua says.

That will clear the way for relief like the containers at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland, an operation led by the Aotearoa Tonga Relief Committee, with the support of legendary All Black La'auli Sir Michael Jones.

“We have capability to organise containers and shipping and other logistics, so that’s what we’re doing at the front end, just to help set it up and it continues to be driven by our Tongan leaders, and we’re just here to love on them and love on our people," says La'auli.

At Mt Smart, a wave of red usually signals a Tongan rugby league game, but now it's the first wave of support for families affected in Tonga.

La'auli says: “The love, the ofa, of our people, not just the Tongan community but businesses, Kiwis, all the Pacific people, it’s really flooding in and it’s very powerful and it’s beautiful.”

Next month Mount Smart will play host to the new Super Rugby Moana Pasifika team in a preseason game against the Chiefs.

Bag of clothes being donated for families in Tonga.