Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

World

‘Proud’ Tongans determined to rebuild battered homeland after eruption

Tongans said they were determined to rebuild their battered homeland in the wake of last week’s devastating eruption and tsunami.

Tonga races to clear runway for volcano aid flights
Tonga has been virtually cut off from the rest of the world since Saturday's volcanic blast - Copyright AFP Johny MAGALLANES
Tonga has been virtually cut off from the rest of the world since Saturday's volcanic blast - Copyright AFP Johny MAGALLANES

Tongans said they were determined to rebuild their battered homeland in the wake of last week’s devastating eruption and tsunami as a massive clean up continued Saturday in the Pacific kingdom.

The powerful eruption of the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano last Saturday triggered a tsunami that crashed across the Tongan archipelago, affecting more than 80 percent of the population, according to the United Nations.

Tongan journalist Marian Kupu said most locals are adamant on remaining as the huge recovery efforts began.

“We want to stay here in our country because this is what identifies us as Tongans. We want to rebuild our country and unite and move on,” Tongan journalist Marian Kupu told AFP.

Toxic ash polluted drinking water supplies, crops were destroyed and at least two villages have been completely wiped out.

An estimated one cubic kilometre of material blasted from the volcano, and experts expect Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai to remain active “for weeks to months”.

“Tonga’s people are going to need sustained support responding to a disaster of this scale,” Sione Hufanga, the United Nations Coordination Specialist in Tonga said.

“The people of Tonga are still overwhelmed with the magnitude of the disaster.”

Tonga ranks third on the World Risk Report, which measures countries on their susceptibility to experiencing natural disasters.

But, despite the risk, Kupu said most Tongans wanted to stay.

“It’s this feeling of pride that we have here, that we don’t want to leave the country we were born and raised in,” she said.

One survivor from the island of Atata, which was flattened by the tsunami, told her he would return to the island even after the devastation, she added.

“He explained he wished to go back because his parents are buried there, he was born there and his life is there.

“He wished the government or anybody would help rebuild his little island so he could go back.”

AFP
Written By

With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

You may also like:

Business

Minorities have been drafted into forced labour in China's Xinjiang region in sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing.

Business

Elon Musk tweeted Tuesday evening that he is purchasing the Manchester United football club.

World

t’s hope the future appreciates what we so very nearly lost.  

Business

Markets drifted in Asia on Wednesday, with investors trying to navigate an uncertain economic landscape.