published in EmergencyTsunami on January 21, 2022

Tonga Crisis

On Saturday 15 January, an underwater volcano eruption and tsunami in Tonga caused severe damage.

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You can continue to help people in poor communities hurt by natural disasters here


UPDATE: Friday 25 February 2022

Thank you!

Your generosity means ALWS can support emergency action to 500 families (5,000 people) hurt by the underwater volcano eruption and consequent tsunami in Tonga on 15 January.

Your ALWS action, valued at $30,000, is delivered by Anglican Missions, and is focused on the islands of:

  • Tongatapu
  • Ha’apai
  • Vava’u

Local congregations supporting the aid effort include:

  • St. Mathias’, Pahu,
  • St. Paul’s Kolofoou,
  • All Saints, Fasi
  • St. Barnabas’, Mataika;
  • St Andrew’s School
  • Holy Trinity, Haapai
  • St. Andrew’s, Vava’u


The emergency action you support

Prepositioned supplies located in Tongatapu distributed:

  • food
  • water
  • shelter kits
  • 4 x generators
  • 4 x chainsaw kits
  • hand tools
  • repair kits
  • family hygiene kits.

The first shipment of emergency supplies from Suva, Fiji arrived in Tongatapu and are currently undergoing quarantine with supplies to be distributed in Tongatapu, Vava’u and Ha’apai Islands. These supplies include:

  • water
  • non-perishable food
  • water blasters to clear ash
  • children’s education materials.

The second container of supplies departed Suva on the 20th of Feb. The container includes:

  • water
  • dry food items
  • children’s packs
  • dignity packs
  • cleaning equipment
  • COVID-19 health supplies.


The longer-term support planned

 Activities to make a lasting impact include:

  • provide Psycho-social support, especially aimed at children
  • repair churches and other buildings (often used as evacuation centres in emergencies, and as community hubs)
  • repair water tank repairs, establish new ones, install irrigation systems
  • re-establish livelihoods including garden, agriculture and fishery
  • replace livestock and infrastructure like fences and pens
  • provide seeds, seedlings, organic fertilizer and tools
  • replenish pre-positioned emergency supplies
  • train all staff and volunteers in:
    • Child Protection
    • Prevention of Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment
    • Inclusion


UPDATE: Wednesday 2 February 2022

Here, relief supplies are being loaded in Suva, Fiji, to be sent to victims of the volcanic eruption and tsunami in Tonga.


Your support through ALWS will be directed through CANDO, a network of church agencies in Australia, and is likely to include clean water, basic food supplies, and safe shelter.

As we have more details about how your gifts will help the people of Tonga, we’ll post them here.



UPDATE: Friday 21 January 2022

  • The tsunami is estimated to have impacted around 1800+ households’ food supply across Tonga (approximately 5,000 individuals). Official fatality number remains at three.
  • Basic food items are needed – flour, tin fish, milk powder etc.
  • The most affected areas have had plantations and crops completely destroyed, and seawater has seeped into the soil. It will take time for the soil to rehabilitate and it is expected that it will be about three months before anything can be grown on affected areas. Food supply during this period will be a significant issue.
  • Fisheries of coastal areas has been significantly affected and the government has advised against fishing or consuming any fish.
  • Access to safe drinking water remains one of highest priorities but it is difficult to obtain a clear assessment of the extent of need. Tongan authorities have advised residents to abstain from drinking rain water until further information is available.
  • In Ha’apai, a significant number of rain water tanks have either been damaged by tsunami waves or contaminated with ash and access to clean drinking water is now a major issue.
  • Access to fuel in Ha’apai remains a concern and Lifuka airport is currently closed.
  • Limited international voice and text connectivity with Tonga, via a satellite connection, has been restored.



DATE: Thursday 20 January 2022

On Saturday 15 January, an underwater volcano eruption and tsunami in Tonga caused severe damage. An undersea cable was damaged, cutting communications. Even satellite phones were dropping out after three or four minutes.

The good news is ALWS can take your love and care to Tonga through our membership of the Church Agencies Network* here in Australia.

The capacity of churches in Tonga to be delivery centres for aid is already being assessed.

ALWS is committing $20,000 to the combined churches relief effort.

It seems clear that priority needs will be in water, food and shelter:

  • majority of people rely on rainwater and boreholes, and these sources have been contaminated
  • 80% – 90% of people depend on farming and fishing: root crops are heavily hit by ash
  • a tropical cyclone looks to be forming and approaching, putting people without shelter at further risk

As communications become more reliable, we will update this page. 

If you would like to help already now, you can donate here.


* Church Agencies Network partners able to directly deliver aid in Tonga include:

  • Act for Peace
  • Adventist Development and relief Agency
  • Anglican Overseas Aid
  • Australian Baptist Mission
  • Caritas
  • Transform Aid
  • Uniting World

How your donation is used wisely
You help with practical care: Your donation is directed to help the people of Tonga, through the CAN-DO network. Any donations received beyond what is required for the ALWS response will be used in other ALWS-supported aid and development projects. Information in this communication is based on data correct at time of writing, and may change. Funds and other resources designated for the purpose of aid and development will be used only for those purposes and will not be used to promote a particular religious adherence or to support a political party, or to promote a candidate or organisation affiliated to a particular party, or to support welfare activities as defined by DFAT. For more information, call: 1300 763 407

Being careful with your care: In the COVID-19 year of 2020, ALWS ‘overheads’ (fundraising and administration costs as defined by ACFID Code of Conduct) were 15.3%. The 5 year average is 14.6%. A copy of the most current ALWS Annual Report can be viewed at or requested: 1300 763 407. 

Your privacy is important to us: ALWS collects personal information about you in order to process your gift. A copy of the ALWS Privacy Policy is available at If you don’t wish to receive further news from ALWS, simply call 1300 763 407 or write to

Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS) is The Overseas Aid & Development Agency of the Lutheran Church of Australia – ABN 36 660 551 871

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