The ETC in the Pacific was activated in 2016 under the structure of the Pacific Humanitarian Team (PHT) to support telecommunications preparedness in the region. The ETC in the Pacific is currently supporting the response to the eruption of the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha-apai underwater volcano and subsequent tsunami which hit Tonga on 15 January 2022.
The ETC in the Pacific and the Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications (MEIDECC) have reassessed emergency telecommunications needs in Tonga, following the repair of the international section of the undersea communications cable on 22 February.
The stakeholders have identified an ongoing need to support communications with the outer islands of Tonga. It may take until late 2022 to repair the domestic section of undersea cable.
Several preparedness and response measures are being planned based on lessons learned from the current emergency, including strengthening of the HF/VHF radio communications system across Tonga. The development of a National Emergency Telecommunications Plan (NETP) with ETC partner, ITU, is also being initiated by the government.