When Hunga Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano erupted in January 2022, supporters like you didn’t hesitate to help families impacted by the ensuing crisis. 

You may remember that Tonga was gripped by a state of emergency when the volcano hurled ash into the atmosphere, triggered a tsunami along the west coast, and destroyed precious farmland. 

Two years on, communities across the country are still dealing with the aftermath. Families whose livelihoods depended on fishing and farming have been struggling to put food on the table and earn an income due to damaged crops and contaminated water sources. People are also suffering from stress and anguish from the trauma they experienced, and its impact on their loved ones. 

With your support, our Partner has been helping 12 communities in the Ha’apai and Tongatapu group of islands build their resilience, positively impacting the lives of 3,647 people.  

Here’s how you’re helping people resume their livelihoods and improve their wellbeing. 

Greenhouses Of Hope 

Amidst hardships, communities in Ha’apai and Tongatapu are remarkably resilient and adaptable. They’ve put measures in place to better source food since the volcano erupted, such as switching to different fish species and growing new types of crop like native watermelons. 

To support their efforts, our Partner provided materials to build livestock fences, and helped community members establish five greenhouses where they can propagate fast-growing vegetable seedlings.  

This has enhanced production and improved food security for 2,179 people. Sione Vailea, a Town Officer on the Tongan island of Mango, described the greenhouses as a ‘blessing to our people’. ‘It not only enables food production, but also helps strengthen the community’s resolve to rebuild through collective effort,’ he said. 

Town Officer Sione Vailea receives a shipment of materials and prepares them for dispatch to the local community. Photo credit: Tonga National Council of Churches / Act for Peace.

A Partner staff member added, ‘the greenhouse represents more than a structure; it symbolises hope, health, and economic wellbeing for each household.’

The greenhouse represents more than a structure; it symbolises hope, health, and economic wellbeing for each household.

Caring For Mental Health 

Mental health is a constant concern for families who experienced the worst impacts of the volcano eruption. According to our Partner, children at school instinctively run home when they hear loud, unexpected sounds, such as thunder. Disrupted communication services have also left people feeling isolated and cut off from their relatives, and less able to cope with the stresses of family life. 

Our Partner was able to provide counselling services to help people process the emotional impact of the disaster, and cope with the stress of rebuilding their lives. They also engaged 2,209 community members with drama performances that not only lifted their spirits, but educated them on protection measures they could take to build their resilience. 

All this good work has been made possible through the faithfulness of supporters like you.  

As one partner staff member said, ‘thank you for your generosity in helping the people of Tonga recover from natural disasters. The financial assistance was most appreciated and has been used to assist some of the most vulnerable communities in the kingdom.’ 

Please continue to pray for families as they continue their recovery—that God would renew their strength, provide for their needs, and fill their hearts with healing and peace.