1. Overview of the situation
Efforts for emergency response in Tonga continue, with the start of work on recovery programmes. The recent outbreak of COVID-19 in Tonga remains a challenge. As of February 25, there were 177 active cases of COVID-19 in Tonga and there have been 355 cases reported since the start of the outbreak. From February 28, lockdown restrictions will ease further, with shorter nighttime curfews and students gradually being able to return to school. It is likely that quarantine regulations related to COVID-19 will continue to complicate the delivery of aid and delay overall response efforts.
The submarine cable, which connects Tonga to the rest of the world, has now been repaired.
The submarine cable being operational again will allow better connectivity in Tonga between and humanitarian partners. The home cable is still damaged, which can cause ongoing difficulties in inter-island communication.
The number of people affected or displaced has not changed. The most recent estimates still suggest that around 85,000 people were affected by the HTHH disaster and 2,400 people are displaced. The COVID-19 closures have delayed the release of official damage assessment data from the National Emergency Management Office (NEMO), however, following the easing of restrictions, it is expected that this data will be available within weeks. future.