15 January 2022: The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai erupted and was followed by a tsunami.
16 January 2022: TRCS commenced needs assessments and worked with the Government of Tonga to commence water distribution. In-kind distributions also commenced.
18 January 2022: The Tongan government declares a state of emergency effective 16 January.
20 January 2022: CHF 430,666 is allocated from the IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF).
21 January 2022: An Emergency Appeal for CHF 2.5 million is launched to support the TRCS in providing assistance to 2,833 households for two years
6 April 2022: The Emergency Appeal is revised to CHF 4.0 million covering a two-year period, enabling the TRCS to increase its focus on resilience and recovery activities and supporting National Society development.
OPERATIONAL STRATEGY REVISION
After the launch of the appeal, planning and discussions continued with various stakeholders, including donors. In these discussions, this response operation was also identified as an opportunity to invest in risk management and risk reduction approaches, particularly in this context, which is disproportionately affected by the effects of climate change. Accordingly, a revised Emergency Appeal was launched on 6 April 2022 with additional resource requirements while enabling a holistic Disaster Risk Management approach to this operation. The operation funding requirement currently is fully covered by hard and soft pledges.
The additional pledges will make it possible to strengthen the response and recovery programme and will support in-country partners with response and recovery activities, e.g., relating to resettled communities. Additional human resources within the Tonga Red Cross Society (TRCS) and the IFRC Country Cluster Delegation Suva will enable the programme to include a stronger community engagement component and to incorporate “green response” principles. There is also an opportunity to work towards increasing disaster risk reduction and resilience, both at the National Society and community levels. As the TRCS has not previously engaged in CBDRR activities, and a pilot programme in 2-3 communities was proposed. In addition, the increase in the Emergency Appeal will make it possible to expand National Society development activities and assist in enhancing long-term National Society sustainability. The appeal is expected to assist the National Society in rebuilding their National Headquarters and repairing/replacing EOC buildings, enabling the National Society to further develop its first aid programme, and investigate/pilot a new source of income generation. It will also assist in strengthening the volunteer programme. The plan includes significant capacity building components. This operational strategy also reflects the achievements during the response and recovery programme to date, such as:
• Distributions of Red Cross shelter and WASH NFIs to affected populations on the Tongatapu, Ha’apai and ‘Eua island groups.
• Supporting NEMO distribution of water during the initial emergency response.
• Between 16-26 January, 163 Tongan households made "safe and well" calls to family overseas using Tonga Red Cross satellite phones. In addition, enquiries were received from 42 international family members seeking news of Tongan relatives.
• Distributions of other gifts received in kind, such as water, food, books, clothing, family kits, hand sanitizer.
• Provision of nine hired portaloos in two affected communities on Tongatapu.
• Distribution of COVID-19 prevention messaging to 46 businesses/government offices, and other messaging on social media.
• Up to 15 June 2022, the TRCS has also provided 830 special purpose hygiene kits and 106 blankets to the Ministry of Health for use by repatriates in quarantine.
• Support for the households of children who attend the school, including the provision of water, food, family kits and school stationery.
• In order to support recovery activities, TRCS has conducted a number of capacity building activities since April, including relating to PGI, First aid, psychological first aid, logistics, and data collection.
• During May, TRCS conducted stock takes as a precursor to stock replenishments ahead of the 2022-23 cyclone season which is due to commence in November.
The plan below is wide-ranging, and some activities are expected to extend beyond the two-year appeal timeframe and incorporated into ongoing TRCS plans.