Australian Red Cross has thanked Australians for their tremendous support for an appeal to help the Pacific island nation of Tonga recover from a devastating tsunami triggered by an underwater volcanic blast in January.
Australian Red Cross Director, International Programs Alex Mathieson said the Tonga Recovery Appeal had raised $528,975, with funds going towards immediate life-saving relief and longer-term recovery for people affected by the 15 January disaster.
“The Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai underwater volcano and tsunami devastated remote island communities, with 84,000 people – around 80 per cent of Tonga’s population – affected,” Mr Mathieson said.
“Homes and vital infrastructure were destroyed, water sources were contaminated, and there was widespread damage to livelihoods and agriculture.
“The incredible generosity of everyday Australians, corporate partners and our friends at Rugby Australia and the National Rugby League has meant we’ve reached our funding target to provide support to the communities of Tonga when they need it most.
“We’ve shipped relief items including shelter kits and tarpaulins so families have somewhere safe and dry to sleep, jerry cans so people can access safe drinking water, and mosquito nets to help protect people from water-borne diseases like dengue.”
Proceeds of the Tonga Recovery Appeal will also go towards a two-year recovery plan that will support 17,000 of the most vulnerable people affected by the disaster and help Tonga Red Cross prepare and upskill for future disasters.
“We know it will take years for families to recover from a disaster of this scale, and our partners at Tonga Red Cross will be there every step of the way. That kind of support would not have been possible without the generosity of so many people across Australia,” Mr Mathieson said.
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