Tongans wait anxiously for news of families

Tongans in New Zealand are feeling anxious about the fate of their families in Tonga as communication lines continue to remain disconnected.

18th January, 2022

Tongans wait anxiously for news of families

Levi Matautia-Morgan - levi.morgan@pmn.co.nz

Tongans in New Zealand are feeling anxious about the fate of their families in Tonga as communication lines continue to remain disconnected. 

Filokalafi Akauola remembers the moment he heard Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai's eruption while video calling his family in Tonga.

“So I told them, get out of the house, drive off! Get into inland and don’t turn off the phone, I’ll try to direct you where you’re going.

“I said to my son, hey what’s that? And he said something from the volcano and the second one come and my wife came out of the house and she was terrified and she was screaming and also my mum was there.”

Akauola lost connection once his family was safe and hasn’t heard from them since.

Labour MP Anahila Kanongataá-Suisuiki feels the same pain that many Tongans are going through, but says keeping in good company is healing.

“If you’re alone and you don’t have anyone to speak with, find someone in Aotearoa to speak with, I just want to thank all the church leaders anywhere online that we’ve gone through, they are there providing spiritual guidance.”

Health worker Soana Muimuiheata says there are ways to be proactive while waiting to communicate with families.

“I think the donations have already been identified like safe water.

“Drinking water is important so the food, we know we need to provide food but at the same time you think like the Covid-19 here when we have the food parcel that’s provided here in New Zealand it’s a similar kind of food that we’re going to send in Tonga.”

Below is the donate responsibly link where all donations will be used strategically in Tonga:

https://donateresponsibly.org/