Some 84,000 people, more than 80% of the population of the Tonga islands, were affected by the eruption of the Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano and the subsequent tsunami, the UN said on Wednesday, adding that evacuations from the islands were In progress.
“Apparently, all houses have been destroyed on Mango Island and only two houses remain on Fonoifua Island”, while “significant damage has been reported on Nomuka”, said UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric in New York.
“The evacuation of people from these islands is ongoing,” he added.
In addition to the three deaths recorded so far, “injuries have also been reported”, the spokesman continued without specifying the number.
Among the most urgent humanitarian needs are clean water and food, as well as the restoration of telephone and internet connections, specified Dujarric.
“Relief efforts have been intensified, but it is difficult to reach remote areas to assess people’s needs and provide assistance,” added Dujarric, referring to “logistical challenges” and the problem of very strict anti-covid protocols in Tonga, which can complicate the deployment of humanitarian personnel.
The UN has 23 staff on site, all mobilized to help victims of the volcano eruption and the tsunami.