1. Situation overview
Efforts for the emergency response in Tonga remain ongoing, with work starting commence on recovery programming. The recent COVID-19 outbreak in Tonga remains a challenge. As of 25 February, there were 177 active cases of COVID-19 in Tonga and there have been 355 reported cases since the outbreak began. From February 28, lockdown restrictions will ease further, with shorter nighttime curfews and students gradually able to return to school. It is likely that COVID-19 quarantine regulations will continue to complicate aid delivery and delay overall response efforts.
The undersea cable, which connects Tonga to the rest of the world, has now been repaired.
The undersea cable being operational again will allow for better connectivity in Tonga between and humanitarian partners. The domestic cable is still damaged which may pose some ongoing difficulties to inter-island communication.
There have been no changes to the number of people affected or displaced. The most recent estimates still suggest around 85,000 people have been affected by the HTHH Disaster, and 2,400 people are displaced. COVID-19 lockdowns have delayed the release of official damage assessment data from the National Emergency Management Office (NEMO), however, following eased restrictions it is expected this data will be available in the coming weeks.