January 15, 2022: The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai erupted and was followed by a tsunami.
January 16, 2022: TRCS has begun needs assessments and worked with the Government of Tonga to begin water distribution. In-kind distributions have also started.
January 18, 2022: The Tongan government declares a state of emergency effective January 16.
20 January 2022: CHF 430,666 is allocated from the IFRC’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF).
January 21, 2022: An emergency appeal for 2.5 million francs is launched to help the TRCS help 2,833 households for two years
April 6, 2022: The emergency appeal is revised to 4.0 million Swiss francs for a period of two years, allowing the TRCS to focus more on resilience and recovery activities and to support the development of the National Society.
REVISION OF THE OPERATIONAL STRATEGY
Following 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 reduction approaches, particularly in this context disproportionately affected by the effects of climate change. As a result, a revised emergency appeal was launched on 6 April 2022 with additional resource requirements while allowing for a holistic disaster risk management approach for this operation. The operation’s financing requirement is currently entirely covered by firm and indirect commitments.
Additional pledges will strengthen the response and recovery program and support in-country partners with response and recovery activities, for example, in resettled communities. Additional human resources within the Tonga Red Cross Society (TRCS) and the IFRC Country Group delegation in Suva will enable the program to include a stronger community engagement component and embed the principles of “green response”. It is also possible to work towards improving disaster risk reduction and resilience, both at National Society and community level. Since TRCS has not yet engaged in CBDRR activities, a pilot program in 2-3 communities has been proposed. In addition, the increased emergency appeal will expand National Society development activities and help strengthen the long-term sustainability of National Societies. The appeal is expected to help the National Society rebuild its national headquarters and repair/replace EOC buildings, allowing the National Society to further develop its first aid program and seek/pilot a new source of revenue generation. It will also help strengthen the volunteer program. The plan includes significant capacity building components. This operational strategy also reflects the achievements of the response and recovery program to date, such as:
• Red Cross and NFI WASH shelter distributions to affected populations on the Tongatapu, Ha’apai and ‘Eua island groups.
• Support NEMO’s water distribution during the first emergency response.
• Between 16 and 26 January, 163 Tongan households phoned their families ‘safe and sound’ overseas using Tongan Red Cross satellite phones. In addition, inquiries were received from 42 international family members wishing to hear from Tongan relatives.
• Distributions of other donations received in kind, such as water, food, books, clothes, family kits, hand sanitizer.
• Provision of nine rented gates in two affected communities in Tongatapu.
• Distribution of COVID-19 prevention messages to 46 businesses/government offices and other social media messages.
• Until June 15, 2022, TRCS has also provided 830 special purpose hygiene kits and 106 blankets to the Ministry of Health for the use of quarantined returnees.
• Support to the households of children attending school, including the provision of water, food, family kits and school supplies.
• In order to support recovery activities, the TRCS has carried out a number of capacity building activities since April, including in the areas of ERP, first aid, psychological first aid, logistics and data collection.
• In May, the TRCS carried out inventories in anticipation of the replenishment of stocks before the 2022-23 hurricane season which is due to start in November.
The plan below is far-reaching and some activities are expected to extend beyond the two-year call timeframe and be incorporated into ongoing TRCS plans.