Caritas was prepared for an emergency in Tonga

Caritas prepared

Caritas was prepared for an emergency in Tonga and is already on the ground offering assistance.

Confirmation of the Catholic agency’s involvement comes from Caritas Director Julianne Hickey, and follows Saturday’s eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano.

“Together (with Caritas Tonga) we have completed the pre-positioning of emergency supplies at three locations in Tonga so are well prepared for this kind of eventuality”, says Caritas Director Julianne Hickey.

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand has also offered an immediate Solidarity Grant to Caritas Tonga and is also receiving donations, through its Pacific Relief Fund, to help with the aftermath of the volcanic eruption in Tonga.

Hickey says communications are proving very difficult at the moment but the Catholic agency has been in touch with Caritas Tonga.

Calling them “absolutely terrible, communications difficulties are also highlighted by Fiji-based United Nations co-ordinator Jonathan Veitch.

Veitch says he has worked in a lot of emergencies but in terms of communications this is one of the hardest. He says there are still areas that have not been contacted.

As well as not being able to easily coordinate logistics, Hickey says currently Tonga’s biggest concern is clean drinking water.

She says rainwater across Tonga has been contaminated by ashfall.

It is a point echoed by Veitch who is urging New Zealand and Australia to provide bottled drinking water.

He also says with the vast majority of the Tongan population reliant on rainwater there is a need for water testing kits.

As well as inviting people to donate to its Pacific Relief Fund, Caritas is encouraging people to pray for the people in Tonga.

Caritas prepared

Stocks of Caritas emergency supplies are being prepared in Tonga, prior to Christmas 2021.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Tonga and especially with our partners and the communities with which we have been working for many years,” Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand says in a statement.

Donations can be made to Caritas online through the Pacific Relief Fund ( or via Caritas’ bank account 03-0518-0211216-00.

Caritas asks bank account donors to please include their first & last name and put Tonga as the code.

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is a member of the Caritas Internationalis, a network of 165 Catholic justice, peace and development agencies working in over 200 countries and territories around the world.


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