It is not yet known how bad the situation in the remote group of islands is. Communication is nearly impossible as the volcanic eruption damaged the island’s only fiber-optic cable. The planes will not be able to land at the moment because there is volcanic ash on the runway of the international airport and the archipelago is so far away that it takes several days for relief ships to get there. Satellite images and images of reconnaissance aircraft are already showing the worst.
“It appears that all homes on Mango Island have been destroyed, only two homes remain on Vonoivoa Island, while extensive damage has been reported on Nomoka,” a UN spokesperson said in New York. The evacuation of people on these islands continues.”
“Very worrying information is coming from these three islands,” the spokesman said. “We are very concerned.” The United Nations hopes that the international airport may be operational again. “The cleaning process at the airport continues,” the spokesman said. He says he hopes the ships will also be able to dock at the port on the main island of Tongatapu.
The United Nations has 23 staff on the ground, 22 of whom are from Tonga. The government of Tonga has not yet determined what kind of aid is needed. Another problem is that the government wants to prevent foreign aid workers from bringing the coronavirus to the islands, which have so far been virtually virus-free.