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Humanitarian Aid Work & Development Programs

Located within the 'Ring of Fire' in the Pacific Ocean where the Indo-Australian and Pacific tectonic plates meet, Tonga, the Pacific's only monarchy, is extremely vulnerable to natural disasters such as cyclones, earthquakes and tsunamis. In recent years social issues such as crime have increased, and high levels of emigration, worsening environmental conditions and a volatile economy have led to rising unemployment. Political instability has also been a major problem for Tonga since 2006.

Working in partnership with Tonga Red Cross in humanitarian aid, we focus on helping communities prepare for and respond to disaster management, through the Pacific Disaster Management Program (DMP). Australian Red Cross also provided development support to construct transitional shelters on the island of Niuatoputapu following the September 2009 tsunami.

Responding to disasters together

To help communities prepare for and respond to disasters, Tonga Red Cross and Australian Red Cross joined together in the Pacific Disaster Management Partnership in 2009.

We work with Tonga Red Cross to train staff, make sure relief supplies are well stocked, establish links with community-based health and first aid programs and prepare for disasters (taking climate change into account). The partnership is part of Australian Red Cross's long-term support for disaster management in the Pacific.

Pacific tsunami (Samoa and Tonga)

On 29 September 2009, an earthquake off American Samoa triggered a tsunami. Tonga (and its island of Niuatoputapu) was affected. 157 people died in Samoa and Tonga and 6,075 people were affected by the earthquake.

Find out more about the Pacific Tsunami (Samoa and Tonga)