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India to give $200,000 assistance to tsunami-hit Tonga for relief and rehabilitation

Photo taken by the Government of Tonga on 14 January, 2022 shows the eruption of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano (Photo: Tonga Geological Services)

India has extended immediate relief assistance of $200,000 to support relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction work in Tonga, located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago was hit by a tsunami on January 15 impacting large numbers of people and causing significant infrastructural damage.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said: "As a close friend and partner under the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) and as a gesture of solidarity with the friendly people of Tonga, Government of India extends an immediate relief assistance of US$ 200,000 to support relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in the Kingdom of Tonga".

Earlier also, India has helped Tonga during crisis caused by natural disasters. In 2018 also, India had provided assistance in the aftermath of Cyclone Gita. The MEA said: "Disaster Risk Reduction and Management is an important pillar of India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans’ Initiative (IPOI) announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November 2019".

The tsunami in Tonga was the result of the eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano which also smothered the Tonga islands in volcanic ash, damaging drinking water supply and damaging crops.

Guaging the impact of the volcano and the subsequent tsunami, the UN said that nearly 12,000 households have been affected by the natural disaster that hit the islands last week. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that three deaths have been reported and agriculture, crops, livestock and fisheries have suffered substantially, impacting the economy adversely.

Australia, New Zealand and Japan are rushing aid to the islands.

The Japanese government announced an emergency grant of $1 million to tonga through international agencies. A statement by Japan said: "Apart from this Grant, Japan will provide necessary things based on Tonga’s requests, such as water, water jelly cans, high pressure water cleaners, tool kits and so on. To deliver those necessities to the many small islands of Tonga, the Government of Japan is dispatching its self-defense force for efficient and swift provisions".